Toyota seems to be exploring the possibility of mating an electric motor with a manual ‘gearbox’, according to designs filed with the US Patent Office.
Unearthed by the Toyota-dedicated BZ Forum, and while admittedly not-yet confirmed to be official, the proposed drivetrain includes what are referred to as a “pseudo-clutch” and a “pseudo-gearshift” which replicate the experience of driving a manual transmission. Such a design would include three pedals. Eight designs in total were filed, all describing different aspects of the system.
Seemingly, the pseudo-clutch would be used to “control the torque of the electric motor”, essentially dropping the voltage of the electric motor when the controller is pushed. The next ‘gear’ is then selected using the pseudo-gearshift, and the voltage increases once again when pressure is lifted off the pseudo-clutch.
Immediate torque means an EV motor would be unable to stall, meaning the purpose of the design is to simulate a manual transmission rather than replacing the operation of an EV’s drivetrain.
This also appears to be one of three modes outlined in the patent diagrams. While one incorporates the pseudo-clutch, another more closely replicates the setup of a dual-clutch automatic transmission that also uses a stick-shift. Select the ‘gear’ with the shifter, and the voltage is modified once again, in much the same way that, when knocking the shifter from ‘Normal’ to ‘Sport’ in a DCT transmission, a driver can toggle between gears without the need for a third pedal.
A third mode leaves the drivetrain to modify torque delivery automatically, as is conventional with a standard EV.
Speculation has now mounted that the patent design is being earmarked for Toyota’s upcoming ‘Sports EV’, one of 11 concepts teased late last year by the Japanese marque whilst outlining its strategy for carbon neutrality.