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Electric Vehicles offer many advantages beyond just the green aspect or even cheaper running costs. Potentially, they're more reliable, more smooth and quiet, better looking, and faster. As production volumes go up and the technology matures, they might even become more affordable.
But for many, none of these facts will compel them to purchase an EV. Some of these are gearheads, people who love their cars and don't see them as practical tools, but joy machines, a passion or manifestations of themselves and their ideals.
Some even ask how an EV can even be sporty if it doesn't make noise or if you don't need to manipulate the gearbox to get optimal power at any given time. Well, Toyota seems to think that they can appease these people. A recent patent describes a "pseudo-shifter," a device that mimics an actual gearbox.
"The controller of the electric vehicle is configured to control the torque of the electric motor using the MT vehicle model based on the operation amount of accelerator pedal, the operation amount of the pseudo-clutch pedal, and the shift position of the pseudo-shifter used by the operation of the reaction force actuator. The controller is configured to store shift reaction force characteristics simulating the characteristic of the shift reaction force according to the operation of the shifter. Then, the controller is configured to control the shift reaction force output by the shift reaction force generator according to the operation of the pseudo-shifter using the stored shift reaction force characteristic", one of the patents read.
In layman's terms, it means that the system will feature both a clutch and shifter, which are connected to software that will, in turn, control the electric motors to mimic the behavior of an ICE. And not only that: just as a real one, the gearstick will move on its own when you put the foot down, while the clutch pedal will vibrate.
In all likelihood, drivers will be able to enable this feature when they feel like doing some more spirited driving and disable it when they just want to relax on the way home.
While not a green innovation in and of itself, it could still speed up the green transition and mitigate some skepticism towards EVs.