Virtual gearshift for electric cars arrives at dealerships

The latest electric vehicle from Hyundai’s luxury brand, Genesis, allows drivers to shift between virtual “gears,” accompanied by computer-generated sound and a digital tachometer.

The last Genesis GV60 Performance Electric Car has unveiled technology aimed at bringing the experience of changing gears in a petrol car to a battery-powered vehicle, and it may be coming to Australia with a future model update.

Known as Virtual Gear Shift (VGS), the system, which can be turned on or off, combines electric motor hardware with intelligent software to simulate a gasoline or diesel vehicle’s automatic transmission for an electric car.

Although the feel of subtle gear changes, similar to a dual-clutch automatic transmission in a Volkswagen Golf GTI or Hyundai i30 N, is compelling, the irony is that the technology, when active, makes the car a bit slower, instead of offering a smooth ride. acceleration surge.

paddle shifters behind Genesis GV60 Previously only used to control the regenerative braking of electric motors, the steering wheel allows drivers to shift imaginary “gears” (most electric motors have only one gear).

Each simulated gear change is accompanied by a small jolt in the power delivered by the electric motors and a change in the computer-generated sound the car produces.

The virtual shift system was presented by the hyundai group in the electric RN22e concept race car last year, and was scheduled to go into production for the first time this year. Hyundai Ioniq 5N electric hot ‘hatch’.

However, Hyundai Genesis The luxury brand made it available a year earlier in the updated 2023 GV60 Performance midsize SUV, which shares its underpinnings with the Ioniq 5 N and RN22e, in South Korea.

It’s unclear if the ‘VGS’ technology will be refitted for use in the Ioniq 5 N; however, this seems likely given Hyundai’s focus on race track driving, compared to the less powerful Genesis.

The system can be deactivated if the driver wishes, returning the car to a traditional single-speed setup, with the driver able to use the steering wheel paddles to control the level of regenerative braking.

Genesis Australia is yet to confirm if the Virtual Gear Shift system will be available on Australian market GV60s; however, it could be part of a future model year update.

Genesis says on its global website that the virtual shift feature offers the “sound of engine revving, [an] active electronic instrument cluster and changing RPM [on a digital tachometer]”.

The version of the virtual shift system for this year’s Hyundai Ioniq 5 N has been designed to mirror the gear change speed of a Hyundai i30 N with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

“It’s for the guys who are looking for the involved driving, the total immersion,” Albert Biermann, Hyundai’s executive technical adviser, and former head of Hyundai’s N performance division, told Australian media earlier this month.

Hyundai RN22e concept car.

“But you can turn everything off [the fake gear shift mode]. And that’s important because you might like this for five minutes or 10 minutes, but then you might not like it anymore.

“Here in Australia, there are many, many roads where I would appreciate it: icy mountain roads, and you just go there and enjoy the car. But in the traffic jam in Sydney, not so much,” Biermann said.

The Lexus system uses a traditional gear stick and clutch pedal, controlled by intelligent software, and even allows the car to stop, just like a real manual transmission vehicle.

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Alex Misoyannis

Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed to Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020. Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flipping through car magazines to an early age to grow around performance. vehicles in a car-loving family.

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