News - Toyota
Toyota patents manual EV with clutch
Pseudo-manual ‘box to give next-gen Toyota EVs petrol-like drive
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14 Feb 2022
By MATT BROGAN
TOYOTA has filed eight patents with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a “pseudo manual transmission”, replete with a clutch pedal, which is earmarked for an electric vehicle.
The Aichi-based firm is the latest car maker to experiment with an electric vehicle with a multi-gear transmission; patent drawings show a control unit (with three individual modes) that adjusts the torque output of the electric motor to provide a more petrol-like driving experience.
The pseudo manual transmission aims to “provide an electric vehicle (with the ability to deliver) a driving feeling like an manual transmission (MT) vehicle without (a driver) experiencing the difficulties (associated with operating an) MT vehicle,” the patent application outlines.
The pseudo manual transmission is mated with what the patent filing describes as a “pseudo shifter” and “pseudo clutch pedal” – neither are essential to the vehicle’s operation, but may help reproduce the experience of a traditional six-speed manual gearbox for those who seek it.
To further the experience, the shifter will even move slightly under acceleration and deceleration – just as it does in a vehicle with a regular manual ‘box – and can even simulate the effect of a car stalling.
“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 the 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 patent application details.
“The controller is configured to store the shift reaction force characteristic of (and simulate the characteristic 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,” it continues.
With nearly all EVs currently operating without a traditional geared transmission – apart from examples from Audi and Porsche – the patent filing suggests Toyota may indeed be moving to retain the driving enthusiast client base that it’s worked so hard to recapture.
Though it’s likely the transmission will initially see the light of day in Toyota’s upcoming Sports EV, the design may indeed serve to gift an electrified Yaris GR and 86 with the kind of driving H-pattern experience customers are used to – and could also serve to provide improved towing, hauling and off-road capabilities in the brand’s extensive range of four-wheel-drive models.
While much of the patent describes – at length – how the system works, the notes around the powertrain control module’s programming and switching between “automatic” and “manual” modes are sure to be of most interest to three-pedal drivers.
According to the patent application, the multiple modes offered by the pseudo manual can be programmed to suit different driving styles or indeed different drivers, catering to drivers who enjoy the engagement that only a manual transmission can provide.
“In the first operation mode, an operation amount of a pseudo clutch pedal and a shift position of a pseudo gearshift are input to the MT (manual transmission) vehicle model to reflect operation of the pseudo clutch pedal and operation of the pseudo gearshift in electric motors control,” the patent reads.
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