Toyota’s Future ‘Manual’ EVs Could Stall If You Mess Up

Toyota’s Future ‘Manual’ EVs Could Stall If You Mess Up

As it happens, not everyone emerges from the womb knowing how to drive a manual transmission, which, in most regular cars, involves pressing a clutch pedal and shifting the car into gear and then, as delicately as one can manage, easing up on the clutch quick but not too quick and giving the car a little throttle, so the car doesn’t stall. Stalling one’s car while attempting to drive manual is the source of a great amount of shame for people who claim to know how to drive manual, despite the fact that race car drivers regularly stall cars because that’s just the cost of doing business in a manual transmission car.

Stalling a car is like slipping on ice: the only shame in it is that which you assign. Probably the worst thing about stalling a car is that your passengers might then feel licence to tell you how to drive. The second worst thing is holding up traffic. The third worst thing is for passengers, as the driver at fault inevitably gives too much throttle on their next attempt at putting the car in gear. The fourth worst thing is for the car, though the car will probably be fine. The fifth worst thing is the harm to your ego, because no one cares about that.

Stalling is a part of life, or at least it used to be, back when there were a lot more manual cars on the road, and not the ones, these days, with all sorts of handy assists to keep you from doing that. Stalling wasn’t supposed to be part of the electric future because it was old technology, which we need, these days, about as much as an 8-track player. And it isn’t really; the vast majority of electric cars are push-button machines. You push a button and the car goes.

And yet, there are lingering elements in the automotive community that, apparently, still wish such a thing existed even though it doesn’t have to. Some of them even work at Toyota, which is a major manufacturer of automobiles and had a big future tech reveal yesterday. As part of that, they talked about something called a “Manual BEV,” which sounds like paddle shifters except there are no real gears to speak of.

According to The Wall Street Journal, this also might include stalling the car if you fuck it all up.

“We want to be able to deliver a sense of ‘wow’ to customers,” said Takero Kato, head of a new EV group at Toyota, of the simulated stick shift and other models under development.


For drivers who like the sense of control in a stick shift and who savour the engine’s growl as it responds to the human touch, Toyota is using simulation software.

The system generates fake sounds and simulated gear changes as well as genuine stalling if a rookie driver fumbles the controls, although the company is still debating whether to keep that last feature when it commercializes the technology, a spokeswoman said.

Kato said the features will “amplify the fun of driving.”

There is probably little chance this simulated stalling situation makes it to market because driving shouldn’t be a video game, it is incredibly silly, and is there really going to be a third pedal in an EV for no reason? It is nice of Toyota, though, to spare a thought for the dozens of people who are demanding this feature, and very Toyota of them, slow to accept EVs and all that.

Stalling a car does have its utility, in that it helps you understand the limits of the machine you’re driving and gets you up close and personal with it; this is what the purists are usually talking about when they wax nostalgic about stick shifts. Strangely, no one has the same sort of nostalgia for hand-cranking.

If I ever see someone “stall” their Toyota EV, I won’t point at them and laugh, but I will laugh.

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