Toyota are bringing gearboxes back to EVs and it's a glorious thing

Most electric vehicles are automatic – but Toyota are looking to change that for a more classic feel

The Toyota FT-Se concept taking a corner
(Image credit: Toyota)

While cars have evolved in different ways for more than 100 years, the best EVs on the market do have a lot of the same core formula. Sure, everyone is able to innovate in their own way, but you'll almost always find four wheels, powered by an automatic transmission and a battery.

That, of course, makes a lot of sense. EV's don't require gears to operate, so automatic operation is a no-brainer. Except that it doesn't always offer the same response as a manual gearbox.

Ask any petrolhead you know, they'll almost certainly prefer a manual transmission. You're in total control of every aspect, and can manipulate the experience depending on how the car responds.

Now, Toyota are looking to bring some of that experience back to the electric vehicle market. As reported by Autocar, the Japanese brand are looking to bring back manual transmissions, in a bid to ensure driving remains fun and involving.

The setup is almost entirely software-based, simulating the response of a gear system with hardware borrowed from a Toyota GR86. It sounds involved, too, with users able to slip the clutch and even stall! Is there a more embarrassing outcome than stalling an electric car? I certainly can't think of one.

It's set for release in the near future soon, too. According to the report, Toyota are hoping to have the functionality available as an optional extra by 2026.

I think it's a great idea. Look, don't get me wrong, I know that automatic transmissions are better for most people. They're easier to drive, allowing users to focus their energy on other things when needed.

That's great when driving is a chore. If you're getting from A to B and just need to do that, no problem. But for some people, driving isn't just a chore. It's an experience, a hobby, a thrill.

If you're looking for that experience, the current crop of EVs might leave a little to be desired. This seeks to solve that, and seems to have nailed the feeling pretty well. We'll have to wait until we can get hands-on with it to be absolutely sure, but one thing's for sure – it certainly seems like future EVs will take it up a gear.

Sam Cross
Staff Writer

Online news writer at, Sam has five years of experience in online and print journalism, with work featured in publications like Metro and Last Word on Sports. After years writing about music and football, Sam now turns his hand to bringing you news about new phones, smart home products, smart watches, laptops and TVs. Sam is a longtime fan and user of Apple products, including iPhones, MacBooks and Apple Watches.He’s also T3’s resident football expert, bringing you everything you need to know about the big games, including how to watch them. In his spare time, Sam is a keen guitarist, watch lover and (very) amateur golfer.