The company put it in a UX crossover. Not exactly an enthusiast favorite.
The manual transmission is almost gone. Even if you ignore that manual-transmission cars account for less than 2 percent of the auto market today, you have to accept that the transition to EVs will likely spell the end of shifting yourself. Toyota wants to change that, which is why the company is showing off a prototype EV with a faux manual shifter.
The company has spent the last couple of days showing European journalists a special version of the Lexus UX 300e. The small electric crossover isn’t sold in the U.S. and isn’t particularly exciting in its normal form, but this version has a simulated shifter and clutch to provide a taste of old-school engagement. The driver can shift between different gears when they get to the far end of the fake tachometer and, if they blow a shift, can even stall the electric car. The driving video from EVO is certainly worth a watch.
Electric vehicles rarely have more than one or two forward gears, so it is unlikely that this is going to be a useful technology for future mainstream EVs. But Lexus says it is developing the concept to make more engaging EVs, and may actually use the system on a production BEV if the development work is promising. We’re not sure a simulated shifter could ever scratch our itch, but we’re certainly interested in trying it out.