Honda said it would not likely go after any artificial or simulated manual transmission for its upcoming EVs. This would be true even for Honda’s forthcoming flagship electric sports cars, according to Teslarati.
Earlier this year, a Toyota patent suggests that the Japanese automaker is considering a more elaborate manual transmission system for EVs, complete with a clutch, a gear shifter, and a ‘virtual’ gear ratio.
Adding manual transmissions is easier said than done
Honda executives noted to Car and Driver that achieving something like a legitimate manual transmission in an electric car is more challenging than saying so.
“Artificially, we can do it. Mechanically, it is not easy,” says Honda’s head of electrification, Shinji Aoyama
He noted that a fake manual transmission is “like an extension of active sound control.”
In addition, Aoyama also said he does not like the idea of an artificial solution for manual transmissions. And so, Honda would be pursuing other ways to make its EVs exciting and enjoyable to drive.
Honda CEO unsure about manual transmissions in EVs
Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe, for his part, noted that it’s crucial for the company’s electric vehicles to be ‘edgy’ and distinct from competitors in terms of driving experience.
With that said, Mibe also has reservations about the manual transmissions in the company’s future EV lineup, not even for its high-performance models.
“I’m not sure if we can replace the manual transmission,” he said.
“We would like to be able to come up with cars that are loaded with technology that gives it the fun to drive features and is fun to drive in the age of electrification.”
Honda’s manual transmissions are not going anywhere in the meantime. While the automaker is serious with its EV push, the company is only aiming for 40% of sales by 2030 to be electric vehicles, with 100% being achieved in 2040.
Automakers looking into manual transmission & gearbox
In contrast, Dodge and Toyota seem to be thinking about the idea of electric vehicles with manual transmissions. Meanwhile, Lexus president Koji Sato is experimenting with the simulation of a manual gearbox, saying, “I want something different.”