Car makers prototyping EVs with fake stick shifts and pretend engine sounds

As more and more electric vehicles are being built for the future, it looks like some automakers are trying to hold onto the past. Toyota, for example, is trying to make an electric car feel like an old-school manual car.


According to the Wall Street Journal, the Japanese car manufacturer is working on next-gen electric vehicles with fake stick shifts that try to mimic the real thing, complete with engine sounds and even the possibility of fake stalling if you shift into the wrong gear.

The Verge:

The car will even pretend to stall out if you fumble the controls — in order to deliver drivers the complete experience of driving a manual car.

Despite the car being entirely electric with no actual gears, this proposed nostalgia-driven design aims to recreate the "traditional" driving experience.

This nostalgia stuff isn't just a Toyota thing, though. Other carmakers like Dodge, Ford, and Jeep are messing around with fake engine noises and gear shifts in their electric vehicles too.

Dodge has been working on a symphony of fake engine sounds it hopes to include in its upcoming lineup of electric muscle cars. The Charger Daytona SRT concept was the first to stress test this vision with a fake engine sound that sounded like a bobcat that was angry about being neutered.

Reactions were so negative — people likened it to a banshee's wail, which is not a great look — that Dodge's CEO was forced to assure fans that the sound was still under development and had yet to be perfected.

Other examples include an all-electric Ford Mustang with a six-speed manual gearbox (thankfully a one-off, for now) and Jeep's Magneto concept with a manual transmission. Lexus, which leads Toyota's high-performance EV efforts, is developing a kind of shifting system that mimics the feel of a clutch and a stick shift in an electric car.