Lexus Boss Wants to Develop Manual Transmissions for Electric Cars
No Lexus has been offered in the U.S. with a stick-shift since 2012.
Lexus—the automaker that, once upon a time, stacked champagne glasses on the hood of its first-ever car to show how smooth it is—is working on manual transmissions for electric vehicles. Not only that, but it's apparently doing so for its future LFA successor.
For those out of the Lexus loop, the company is indeed working on a car it now readily identifies as a sequel to its old halo supercar. Instead of another V10 that screams to 9,000 rpm, however, it will be an EV. Lexus says it will do zero to 60 mph in the "low two-second range" while being able to travel 435 miles from a full charge. In other words, it's gunning for a theoretical Tesla Roadster rather than any Lamborghini Huracans this time around. It may also, believe it or not, come with a clutch pedal.
Speaking to Top Gear about its future performance flagship, Lexus President Koji Sato said he is currently toying with some sort of digitally simulated manual transmission. "It's a hobby of mine, a crazy thing," he told the publication. "I'm looking for better engagement, even in an EV, I want another link from the car to the driver. It's not just about efficiency. I love cars and want something different."
The last time Lexus offered a manual was in the second-generation IS250, which could be had with a six-speed stick before going away in 2013. Perhaps the next-next-generation IS will have a pseudo-manual gearbox trickled down to it as a throwback option.
Back in February, parent company Toyota was spotted filing a patent for a manual transmission made specifically for electric cars. It outlined a simulated H-pattern, a "pseudo-shifter," and a "pseudo-clutch." For the pro gamers in the crowd, that setup should sound familiar.
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