Several automakers these days have announced unusual ways through which they are trying to inject some excitement into their EVs, in order to make up for the the fact that electric vehicles don’t have engines or a transmission. Many are specifically trying to bring some sort of sensation of gears being shifted, and it looks like Hyundai has jumped on the same train with what it calls “N e-shift.”
This system will apparently be implemented on the automaker’s sporty N-badged electric offerings and its goal is to simulate the feeling of a dual-clutch transmission, specifically the one it offers in the i30 N hot hatch. Australia’s CarExpert quotes Albert Biermann, Hyundai’s Executive Technical Advisor as saying
The idea is to come pretty close to the feel and sound of the DCT in the i30 N hatch. This is what we want to deliver, complete with the same some jolt and downshift vibrations you experience in our ICE N cars.
Sound-wise, though, it’s very challenging, especially those pops and crackles you get in the i30 N, but we’re still working on this technology to bring the DCT in-car experience of a combustion engine car to similar emotional levels in our Ioniq 5 N EV. That’s the target.
The system is already implemented on the Ioniq 6-based RN22e, which is more than just a concept being used by Hyundai as a mobile laboratory and testbed for pieces of tech that it wants to implement in series performance EVs. You can actually hear what it sounds like in the original driving video (embedded below) published by Hyundai when it unveiled the vehicle – at one point in the video the driver even pulls a steering wheel-mounted paddle right before a corner in order to simulate a downshift…
It sounds like the first production car this will be implemented on is the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N (coming next year) and the manufacturer has reportedly almost completed developing the system, although it sounds like features are still being added. Now they are in the process of creating a virtual “rev limiter” as well as several selectable sound profiles to suit the preferences of a wider range of drivers. Biermann goes on to say that
By the time we launch Ioniq 5 N, drivers will be able to choose from several different character sounds or even create and name your own sounds. I expect you’ll also be able to download new sounds over the air, which we create, but stuff like this will involve on-going development.
Lexus also recently announced that it was working on a full manual-like transmission that it wants to implement in its future sporty EVs, complete with physical gear lever and three pedals. The Japanese automaker has already shown a video of the system in action, with an official commenting that “the only thing they didn’t reproduce is the smell of petrol.”