the brands have insisted on saving it in the middle of the electric transition

  • 55

Despite the fact that the manual transmission has accompanied all of us who have obtained our driving license in Spain, the automatic transmissions They have been imposing themselves on the market for a long time. With quicker, smoother shifting and much more optimized management than decades ago, only the most enthusiastic resist automatic transmissions. And the manufacturers want to offer them a future despite the hybrid and electric mechanics.


With the progressive electrification of automobiles, manufacturers have chosen to automate most of their mechanics. With them they achieve a simpler power management in the models in which electricity and combustion are combined and, in addition, the task is simplified in the electric ones, which only have one relationship. In fact, the Porsche Taycan is the only model electric on the market with two gears.

Eliminating the manual gear change from the equation leaves out of play a possible misuse of it by the driver, who also feels a greater comfort in your daily journeys, because you only have to worry about accelerating and braking. In fact, with good regenerative braking management, electric vehicles can be driven almost exclusively with the right pedal.

Reinventing the manual gearbox

It is curious that a brand like Ford has patented in the United States (market where automatic gearboxes have always been clearly imposed) a new manual gearbox that lacks a clutch pedal. The system is very similar to change “by-wire” of Hyundai-Kia, in which the clutch pedal sends an electrical signal to an electromechanical system in the gearbox telling it to disengage the transmission. Immediately afterwards, gear is engaged with the gear lever and the vehicle adapts to the new ratio. In this type of manual changes, the driver does not feel anything different from any other system in which the clutch pedal is physically linked to it.

In the Ford patent, however, the exercise that in the case of Hyundai and Kia is carried out with the pedal is reduced to a button at the gear change. The same electronic signal is sent from the gearbox and you only need to press it and engage a new gear to start enjoying the new ratio. In other words, the driver’s job is made easier and the manual transmission is maintained.

Toyota, on the other hand, has opted for a completely different system. Also in the united states patent officethe Japanese firm has registered what is a virtual manual shift system. In this case, the car has a pedal, a gear lever and a driving mode selector. In one of them both the pedal and the gear lever are used. In a second mode, only the gear lever is used and, in the last one, the automatic transmission itself simulates the gear changes.

Ford Mustang Mach E

turn page

Although Ford’s gear change may make sense as a simplification of manual transmission and greater comfort for drivers who prefer it, it is worth wondering if any fan would opt for the Japanese option to end up being developed in the future, as it is rumored what can be the solution for a future hybrid Ford Mustang.

Anyone who has ridden in an electric car knows that it eliminates many of the inconveniences of combustion vehicles in daily traffic. They are less noisy, smoother and the automatic gearbox becomes the best option for driving around town or in traffic jams. In fact, motor enthusiasts have been shrinking for a long time and manufacturers (also pushed by the European institutions) have opted for greater control of their systems and have been leaving aside the most passionate vehicles, which represent a niche very small market.

Tesla activates the touch gear change: why we think it is a very bad idea

As a consequence, most drivers have more or less accepted automatic transmissions and only the most enthusiastic enthusiasts will prefer a manual transmission. But is it necessary for Toyota or any other manufacturer to try to entice these drivers with artificial manual shifting? These patents are not the only ones that want to bring this public closer to future electric cars. In recent years, sports models that incorporate a false sound into their speakers when accelerating have proliferated. Even on fully electric models. Does this make any kind of sense?

Personally, I think it is very difficult for a fully virtual manual transmission could attract a great fan of the motor to the electric car. Nor artificial sounds that come out of the speakers when a supposedly “racing” or “sport” mode is activated. The fan will have no choice but to go through the electric car and, if he is lucky enough, afford a vehicle that he can enjoy over the weekend and with which, in addition, he can circulate and is not prohibited from entering a casualty zone emissions. In fact, it is already what happens to many, fulfilling their daily journeys with a functional vehicle and enjoying manual transmissions and more greedy engines on holidays. And it does not seem that the latest attempts by brands to capture this market are going to work.

Despite the fact that the manual transmission has accompanied all of us who have obtained our driving license in Spain,…

Despite the fact that the manual transmission has accompanied all of us who have obtained our driving license in Spain,…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.