Save the Manuals: Lexus Could Bring a Row-Your-Own Option to EVs

Chris Teague
by Chris Teague
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save the manuals lexus could bring a row your own option to evs

The manual transmission was already far down a slippery slope before EVs came along, and the move to electrification has all but signed its death warrant, or so we thought. Lexus recently confirmed reports that it was testing a manual transmission for electric vehicles, and there’s even a video of it in action.

Due to the way EVs make torque, there’s really no need for a manual transmission, but Lexus engineers have worked on this project for three years because they found it fun. The good news is that their tinkering could become a reality, as an engineer hinted to CarScoops that it could make its way into future electric models.

The video shows a person smoothly shifting through the gears in a Lexus EV. Simulated engine sounds help the driver judge shift points, and there are clearly three pedals in use. Fake engine sounds are not new for Lexus, so it’s at least nice to see them being used for something useful here. There’s also a rev counter mounted on the dash to help with shifts, but it’s unclear where the “redline” is.

To be clear, this "manual" is not really connected to the powertrain but in the future it could be. Toyota also has a manual-transmission hydrogen fuel-cell concept.

Lexus and Toyota were slow to jump into EVs, but the luxury automaker has developed some exciting innovations in the space. The new RZ 450e electric SUV features a unique yoke system that enables better steering and precision, and its Direct4 all-wheel drive system offers electric torque vectoring for improved handling and stability.

[Image: CarScoops via YouTube]

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Chris Teague
Chris Teague

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5 of 17 comments
  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Dec 07, 2022

    I don't get it -- and by that I mean I don't understand what it is doing (or how it works).

    [Bonus: In my simple mind, an actual two-speed transmission applied to an EV would yield greater range and/or improved performance for the same reason that gearing works on a bicycle. E.g., make the motor(s) smaller, keep the same 0-60, improve the range due to lower current draw at highway speeds (still with sufficient torque because EV). Depending on transmission type, minimal drivetrain losses? Some additional weight but not as much as adding battery capacity; same thing with cost.]

  • Analoggrotto Analoggrotto on Dec 07, 2022

    Ironic from the brand that has offered a grand total of 5 vehicles with 3 pedals.

  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Dec 07, 2022

    This might just be me, but the times that I've driven an EV, I use the brake regen paddles to quell my inner MT/control freak nature.

    • Stuki Moi Stuki Moi on Dec 07, 2022

      Brake regen is EVs' raison-d-etre. The one thing I miss, every time I'm wasting kilowatts on heating up brake rotors which could be better spent feeding back into the fuel tank.

  • BEPLA BEPLA on Dec 07, 2022

    This is like those companies who tried to sell you an old-fashioned handset and cord to plug into your cellphone. Unnecessary and dumb.