Volk Wheels

Toyota is getting serious about a manual transmission for future GR electric vehicles. Yes – it’s an electronic ‘simulated’ manual. But it does incorporate a real hands-on gear shifter (not just paddles)… as well as a true 3rd-pedal. Toyota is also incorporating fake engine noises into the mix (bad dog). But overall, I’m simultaneously skeptical, and ultimately hopeful.

electric toyota sports car

Skeptical…

As a purist & enthusiast, I’m obviously skeptical about a simulated EV stick-shift. Because 1) Fuck all this tech; 2) Fuck overrides; and 3) Fuck simulations. Drivers love manual transmissions, because they connect us to the machine – literally. And I still don’t believe true sports cars exist without 3-pedals. I saw a comment where someone said, “Unless the left pedal physically disconnects the wheels from the motor, this is going to flop.” That’s the truth. While it might not flop with the less discerning public, it will flop with customers who demand authenticity. On top of that, fake engine sounds in an EV (or anything else aside from a toy) cause me to wince in disgust. It’s literally the most poser thing. I don’t want future EVs to try & imitate how awesome real cars USED TO BE. Watch this quick video of the simulated sound in Lexus UX 250h F Sport.

GR Corolla

Hopeful…

I do believe, however, that if there’s any car maker that will fight for us as real enthusiasts & as a real endangered species, it’s Toyota. Akio Toyoda & Koji Sato?? They’re one of us. And they understand what’s happening to the allure of the automotive industry. They know what’s at stake. And they understand how a good car connects to our soul. They also understand… authenticity. It doesn’t have to be explained to them. And I don’t think those guys are gonna put a GR badge on anything that’s a gimmick. 

So I am hopeful that Toyota is going to get this right. In fact, I have a certain peace & patience about it. Toyota is absolutely proving that they have the team, the courage & the clarity to lead. And to represent what binds us to car culture. I encourage & support Toyota to find ways that will connect enthusiasts’ hearts to sporty EVs. I do believe it’s possible. And I’ll close with this: I absolutely LOVE the thrill of riding stand-up jet skis… and there’s not a shifter or 3rd-pedal anywhere in site. Yet – I find it to be a tremendously engaging, completely addictive, fantastic experience. Create that! …And put a Toyota GR badge on it. The idea of a 3rd-pedal in an EV honestly makes my heart start beating again for the future. But if it ever starts to become a gimmick or a simulation, don’t be afraid to ditch it & find another way.

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