Ford and Toyota Get Into Gear

Mon 21st Feb 2022

Electric vehicles are taking over the motoring world, but that hasn’t stopped two of the industry’s biggest brands designing innovative gearbox solutions.

In theory the electric car should spell the end of the gearbox and it will turn all engines automatic from manual - but Toyota has kept the opinions of real driving enthusiast in mind, by developing a gearbox for EVs.

The Japanese company have launched a patent for a ‘simulated manual gearbox’ which will include a fake gear stick, faux clutch pedal which in tandem with some sophisticated software will make the engine react and behave like a traditional petrol car. To make the experience even more realistic, Toyota also have plans to include vibrations in the clutch to which will give the driver the option of adjust the weight of the pedal. The patent filing for Toyota reads: “Particularly for drivers who are accustomed to driving [manual] vehicles, a pseudo-shifting operation that does not involve the driver's own manual shifting operation may cause discomfort in the driving senses of drivers who seek the pleasure of driving [manual gearboxes].”

Ford meanwhile have up with their own gearbox invention, however this one is focused on the existing petrol and diesel engines, however the engineers at the American giant have somehow removed the clutch. The transmission could simplify the gearbox, but at the same time retains the act of changing the gear, and for those who don’t want to give up clutch control completely, the gear knob is pressure sensitive allowing the driver to control the clutch by squeezing it.

It’s not the first time that car manufacturers have ditched the clutch but retained the gearbox, German giants Mercedes introduced the technology into their original A-Class hatchbacks.