Toyota Changes Gears, Plans All Electric Sports Car

JUL 13 2012 BY STAFF 10

Toyota 2000 GT EV At The Festival Of Speed

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First shown at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Toyota 2000GT EV, the concept car is underpinned by Toyota’s electric powertrain of the future.

While speaking to Autocar UK, Toyota’s Naohiko Saito, revealed that “(the powertrain) is an early part of the development process involved in refining the technology”.

Mr. Saito noted that while this new technology would form the base for an upcoming Toyota sports car in the future, the public will see it first in an all electric city car.   He also noted that Toyota is working on a manual gearbox to the electric powertrain, which has zero practical value against a CVT, given the power curves of an electric motor, but Toyota believes it is still something consumers want saying there was still “a desire to use a manual gearbox in our electric and hybrid sports cars.”

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Naohiko Saito went on to explain that a CVT gearbox was “efficient but not fun”, and the manual box evokes a more traditional response and “promises much better feel for the driver”.   Toyota confirmed that a production manual hybrid from Toyota is on its way to consumers, but is still a few model years away.  We ourselves at InsideEVs feel that the quiet, effortless sensation of smooth acceleration in an EV is a thing not to be messed with.


Categories: Toyota


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10 Comments on "Toyota Changes Gears, Plans All Electric Sports Car"

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Reminds me of an early 80’s Nissan 280Z. Not sure about the manual transmission choice. I wonder if they’re using any Tesla components.


I’ve learned the design is actually based on this Toyota from the late 70’s:


I agree with staff – quiet, smooth EV feel is not subject to improvement via a clunky gearbox.

Oh well, back in the day of the horseless carriage, at least a few early car makers incorporated no longer useful remnants of horse drawn buggies in the cars they made. I think I even remember seeing an old photo of a car with a horse’s head attached to the front, I guess in a creative attempt at calming down horses the car might encounter on the road.


For electric drive I want the least amount of parts in the drive-train to maintain. I want to save $ for other high $ maintenance like batteries, controlers etc… Direct in-wheel motors would be best if; the weight/vibration issues can be negotiated with ride performance. On the other hand; I would think the ratios with a CVT for pure electric drive could be designed for fun or efficiency with preset ratios with a push of a button or maybe a sliding scale. Multi gear transmissions should fade away with the ICE’s JMO.


Having once driven a Honda S2000, and now a Nissan Leaf, I have to say that part of me still misses a manual gearbox. There is a certain feeling of control and intimacy with the car (isn’t that what a sports car is all about?). And yes, I realize that there is no “practical” value to a manual gearbox, but again, who buys a sports car purely for “practical” purposes? I agree that eventually they will fade out, but most non-EV drivers have no idea what they are missing. Trying to explain why an automatic transmission is better for an EV than a manual is going to be lost on your typical sports car driver. At least until they experience it for themselves.

In conclusion: I think Toyota should offer both as options. Let the people decide what they really want.


I’ve not driven one yet, but I suspect a direct-drive electric vehicle with regenerative coasting would feel a lot like my 6-speed manual Mazda. That is … Instant torque and acceleration from a direct connection to the engine/motor, but with no need to shift all the time. With the extreme torque and RPM range of today’s induction motors, I don’t see why a CVT would even be needed. Makes Toyota’s comments even more baffling.


“No need to shift” implies that you find the act of controlling the gear ratio more of a chore. This is not true for everyone, including myself. Personally, the only downside of a manual transmission is in stop-and-go traffic you risk stalling because an ICE MUST idle. An EV can stop and go without taking the car out of first gear. No shifting. No stalling. Just power exactly when you want it. The more I think about it, the more I want it! The Leaf is a little like a car stuck in first gear…


The problem with shifting … before each shift, I first need to set down my cell phone or my Big Mac. 😉

Laurent J. Masson

At last, I was waiting for that. A choice of gears would make any EV faster and more efficient. I know I would never buy an EV with a single-speed, I want more! And when those will come, nobody will want an EV with only one gear anymore.


Along with my preference of the most direct-drive for electrics would be the tuning of Regen. For 1 pedal driving; except for a complete stop. This 1 pedal driving will give a driver that sense of control along with some of that fun factor associated with manuals. Brake lights could be progressively lit up according to deceleration speeds; you don’t want to drive the person behind you crazy by having brake lights come on with only slight deceleration. For example: you could have 1, 3, or 5 brake lights come on according to deceleration speed.