Looks like all of those coins we’ve been throwing into the wishing well by the handful are starting to pay off. Part of the commitment that Toyota has outlined as it “rebrands” itself as a car company that produces vehicles that are fun to drive means actually building and developing such cars – which Toyota is not only actually doing, but they’re pushing the envelope in terms of defining the sports car itself and what it takes to propel one. With years of hybrid technology experience, Toyota has always found themselves on the leading edge of drivetrain technology.
As of late, car companies have been exploring ways to bring electric vehicles to market. While the mass-market EV has become a reality, the one thing that today’s EVs lack is that raw, fun-to-drive factor. Sure, you can throw an electric motor under the hood and bolt on a CVT, charge it up, and call it a day – but for Toyota’s development team, that’s less than ideal, and know that for driving enthusiasts, CVT transmissions provide a driving experience that is far less than satisfactory.
Thus, the only real solution to curing the lethargy induced by the CVT transmission is to do something radical – and something that is actually far more revolutionary than it may seem – and that’s introducing an electric sports car equipped with a real manual transmission – three pedals and all. If it sounds impossible, it’s not. This technology is currently under development by means of the 2000GT SEV (Solar Electric Vehicle), a skunkworks project by Toyota and GAZOO Racing that blends the old with the new. The 2000GT is one of the most iconic Toyota sports cars, so what better platform to use to explore cutting edge technology?
Recently, a couple members of Toyota’s development team went on record to confirm that not only did they feel that a CVT would detract from the overall driving experience, but that an electric powertrain paired with a manual gearbox was not only under exploratory development, but that we can expect to find a manual transmission available in a Toyota hybrid or EV product within the next three years.
Below, you can watch a video released by Toyota that illustrates what the 2000GT SEV project is about. [Japanese]