Automakers are packing fake information components into EVs because they can’t give up on manual transmissions.

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By The StuffSy

Toyota is experimenting with an electric vehicle (EV) prototype that simulates using a manual gearbox, complete with an inactive stick shift and fake engine noises. People, what are we doing here?



There is little doubt that the rise of electric vehicles signifies a fundamental change in the auto sector. However, even if the majority of automakers seem prepared to embrace the electric future, many of them are having a hard time letting go of the past.

Consider Toyota as an example. According to reports, the largest carmaker in the world is developing an electric vehicle prototype that simulates the experience of operating a manual transmission, complete with a gear change that is not connected to anything and a floor-mounted speaker to pipe in phony engine noises. To give drivers the full manual car feel, the car will even pretend to lock itself out if you make a mistake with the controls.
Remember that this car is electric. There is no driving shaft, no gears, and no engine. Software and a little bit of magic are used to do this. Toyota claims that the objective is to protect the driving experience for automobile aficionados, but it’s not obvious if this is what customers actually desire. Although I have little interest in cars, I am aware that most people detest bogus trash. (Only take a look at the fake meat business. It isn’t doing well at all.) It makes sense that they would detest this. Unfortunately, Toyota is not alone in its uncomfortable attempts to meld the history and present of the auto business. For its next collection of electric muscle vehicles, Dodge has been developing a symphony of fictitious engine noises.

The Charger Daytona SRT concept was the first to put this idea to the test by simulating an irate bobcat during stress tests with a phony engine sound. People compared it to a banshee’s wail, which is not a good look. As a result of the unfavorable reactions, Dodge’s CEO was compelled to reassure fans that the sound was still being developed and had not yet been perfected course, that is assuming that people would accept a false sound.
Simply tuning it in a specific way and gently adjusting its levels will cause automobile aficionados to experience the proper serotonin response. It will then be prepared for primetime!

Other examples include the manual-transmission Jeep Magneto concept car and an all-electric Ford Mustang with a six-speed gearbox (luckily a one-off for the time being). The high-performance EV division of Toyota, led by Lexus, is working on a type of shifting system that simulates the feel of a clutch and a stick shift in an electric vehicle.

All of this illustrates the industry’s pervasive fear about the internal combustion engine’s impending obsolescence. Given that technology has been deteriorating for decades, the idea that it is focusing on manual gearboxes is particularly strange.

Stick-shift vehicles are hardly ever launched as new vehicles. According to CarMax, 3.7 percent of newly purchased automobiles had manual transmissions in 2018; in 2020, that proportion fell to 2.7 percent.
Toyota engineers claim that they are attempting to “wow” consumers with their false engine noises and inactive stick shift, but I doubt that they will succeed in doing so given that this technology has been the foundation of every driving simulator available in video game arcades for the past several decades. If I wanted to experience the steering wheel rattling while travelling at 120 mph through a banked curve, I could simply play Hard Drivin’ at the mall. (Are arcades still around? Are malls still around?

Even while they continue to invest tens of billions of dollars in their research, manufacturers are not only highly concerned about the demise of ICE engines, they are also deeply dubious about the rise of EVs. They are concerned about the declining importance of hobbyists and aftermarket restorations, two industries that the car industry has excelled at nurturing and catering to over the years. They are unable to foresee what kind of subcultures will emerge around EVs, if any at all. We’ve had a glimpse of the kinds of fan groups that are forming around electric vehicles, and the majority of them are focused on Tesla, which, in my opinion, helps to explain why the rest of the industry is still struggling to understand what’s going to happen. This is the reason why EVs are attracting the ire or outright hostility of gearheads and drag racers by way of these silly gimmicks. I understand why they don’t want to lose those people. They adore loud vehicles! They enjoy moving quickly and the gratifying ka-thunk that occurs while shifting gears. As they accelerate, EVs barely produce any noise. Many people find something strange and eerie, and they dislike it.

However, we cannot allow the increasingly vulnerable combustion engine to set the parameters for our future electric society. It’s also the reason why the majority of electric trucks now on the market are massive behemoths with excessively enormous batteries. The majority of the time, cars will be even faster than they were before, and EVs will eventually give rise to strange subcultures and hobbyist communities. But let’s not misrepresent them by acting otherwise.

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