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Toyota’s Manual-Shifting EV Will Debut in 2026

EVs are the future, but with a sprinkling of Toyota's mechanical wizardry, they'll be a bit more fun to drive with a manual transmission.
Toyota Lexus Manual Transmission EV
screengrab via YouTube

When we first told you about Toyota’s patent to build a manual transmission for battery-electric vehicles last year, many people across the internet were skeptical. Rightfully so, especially since not all tech patented by automakers will make it to a production car. But that’s not the case this time, especially since Lexus boss Koji Sato said that developing the perfect simulated manual for the brand’s future BEVs—shifts, noises, and all—was his personal “hobby.”

Well, Toyota kept at it. With a working prototype already demoed (plus Toyota’s welcomed focus on performance cars once again), why wouldn’t the brand do a service to enthusiasts everywhere who want the instant torque of an EV coupled with a manual transmission? Well, it’s happening very soon.

Takero Kato, president of Toyota’s newly-established BEV Factory, dropped the news that Toyota will deliver a manual transmission EV at the company’s Toyota Technical Workshop earlier this week. The simulated manual will likely debut as early as 2026 alongside the automaker’s next-gen battery packs.

“A ‘manual EV’ is technology achievable only by a carmaker,” said Kato during a presentation on the company’s next-gen EV strategy. “Alongside the improved cruising range and stylish design, we will offer our customers a truly ‘wow!’ experience.”

Toyota’s new battery packs were the focus of the automaker’s presentation, however, its overall BEV strategy made it clear that Toyota won’t settle for building appliances only meant to deliver humans from A to B. Its manual EV setup, if anything like the prototype we’ve seen in the video above, will likely have a clutch pedal and feature simulated engine noises to give the driver more of a traditional combustion engine-like driving experience, which seems to be the norm nowadays.

Toyota has notoriously bet on hydrogen over battery power in the past. It has since rapidly been playing catch-up, and its latest innovations are no joke. Toyota is expecting its next-gen lithium-ion batteries to exceed 600 miles of range in the next three years. And if that isn’t exciting enough, the automaker’s first solid-state battery will debut in 2027 with around 745 miles and a recharge time of just 10 minutes. Ultimately, a second solid-state pack is expected sometime before 2030 that will offer more than 930 miles of range.

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If Toyota can deliver an affordable sports car with a manual transmission and 600 miles of range, it’s hard to deny that it will be a hit. Now whether or not it can perfect the raw driving experience of a row-your-own gearbox is another story.

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