TechTalk Lexus

Published on December 7th, 2022 | by Sounder Rajen


Lexus Creates A Manual Transmission For EVs

Lexus is developing a simulated manual transmission

Lexus announced at the Tokyo Kenshiki Conference that the brand is developing a manual transmission built specifically for electric vehicles (EVs). This is exciting, especially for me, as I prefer manuals over automatics and since most carmakers have abandoned manuals, I am glad to see Lexus sort of bringing it back.


This Lexus EV specific manual transmission utilizes a physical gear shift system, a tachometer and an actual third pedal. However, this third pedal is not actually connected to a clutch but simulates the experience using software. The software is hyper realistic and could even stall in some situations.

Takashi Watanabe, Chief Engineer at Lexus Electrified, stated, “This new project all started with some Lexus engineers reflecting on what they liked about traditional (internal combustion engine) vehicles and what they had to miss out on with electric cars, (The) manual transmission was one thing they enjoyed in particular.”

Moreover, Lexus engineers tested this out by fitting a prototype system into a Lexus UX 300e model and took it out for a spin. The Youtube video to that is linked here. Based on the video, the setup does look good and I felt nostalgic watching the driver switch gears, but I noticed an odd clicking sound which could be a defect.


Now, if you pay close attention to the video, there is a weird “click”sound after each and every gear change, what’s more, the way the driver just sort of flicks between every gear indicates that the simulation may be running a short throw shifter but it looked a bit too short to me, but maybe I’m just nitpicking here.

After all, I should be grateful that Lexus is, at the very least, giving us manual fans something to look forward to in a world where manual transmissions are dying out but something about the gear shifts just looked a bit unnatural to me. I can’t quite put my finger on it but the whole system just felt off.

Regardless, this was just a prototype and I am sure that as Lexus continues testing and improving, they will produce a manual transmission for EVs that feels almost identical to the traditional manual transmissions of yesteryear and I hope that other automakers try to simulate this as well.

On top of the manual gear shifter, the Lexus EV manual transmission also has 3 pedals on the bottom and a rev counter simulator to help drivers gauge when they need to upshift since EVs are completely silent and we cannot rely on sound cues to know when to shift like most do in older manual transmission cars.


What do you guys think about this? Are you as excited as I am for the upcoming Lexus manual EVs or am I getting too excited for something that may never come to be?

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