Honda will not equip its electric cars with ‘manual’ changes

The era of electric cars will probably mean the end of manual gearboxes as we know them. Not surprisingly, some manufacturers (such as Toyota) have fashioned simulated manual transmissions as a way to increase driver involvement in these models. Honda, however, does not quite fit the idea: its electric cars will not have artificial manual transmissions.

The companions of car and driver They have chatted with Toshihiro Mibe (CEO of Honda) and Shinji Aoyama (head of electrification of the Japanese brand). The latter has revealed that they do not have many plans to look for some type of simulated or artificial transmission for their next electrics: “Artificially, we can do it. Mechanically, it’s not easy.” From Shinji Aoyama’s point of view these changes are “an extension of active sound control” and he confessed that he personally does not like such artificial solutions.

Toyota’s gamble

His point of view contrasts with that of Toyota. Honda’s main rival does believe in an alternative manual transmission. So much so that recently has patented a system for electric cars that includes a clutch, a gear lever and virtual gear ratios. Koji Sato (President of Lexus) also wants the brand’s next electric sports car to have some kind of simulated manual transmission.

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Several years earlier, in 2017, Toyota showed the Toyota GR HV Sports. A prototype that incorporated a simulated manual gearbox: the hybrid powertrain of that ‘concept’ was associated with an automatic gearbox. This one had a shifter that mimicked the H-pattern of a six-speed manual transmission.

Manual Hondas will still exist

Thus, Honda will look for other ways to ensure that its electric cars force the driver to participate and, above all, that be fun of driving. To do this, they will focus on differentiating factors such as the technology of their batteries, the programming and the general engineering of the motors or direct transmission units. They believe that these are the ingredients to be “avant-garde”, different from their rivals and, above all, to make a difference in how their vehicles feel on the road.

This doesn’t mean that Honda’s manual transmission is going to disappear overnight because its electrification (including vehicles equipped with hydrogen fuel cells) is planned in stages. Its goal is for this type of car to represent 40% of its sales in 2030, 80% in 2035 and 100% in 2040. Meanwhile, the models with manual transmission remain in its workforce and it does not seem that they will disappear soon .

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