BMW and Hyundai believe it is necessary for electric vehicles to simulate gear shifts

Introduced in 2025 by Hyundai and continued to be developed by BMW, the concept of simulating gear shifts in electric vehicles (EVs) has gained traction in the automotive industry. This innovative approach aims to provide drivers with a more engaging and immersive driving experience by replicating the feel of traditional multi-speed transmissions in vehicles that lack them. The idea is to add a layer of excitement and feedback for EV drivers, who may miss the familiar sensations of shifting gears and the associated engine noises.

Simulating gear shifts in EVs is a bold move that challenges the conventional wisdom that electric vehicles should be designed to be quiet and smooth. Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 N, a sporty EV that features fake shift points, was the first of its kind to incorporate this technology. Following in Hyundai’s footsteps, BMW is also exploring the implementation of simulated gear shifts in its future EV models. In a recent interview with Top Gear, Frank van Meel, the head of BMW’s M performance division, expressed admiration for Hyundai’s approach and confirmed that BMW is actively working on similar technologies.

Understanding the importance of providing drivers with a sense of speed and engagement in the absence of traditional gear shifts, van Meel emphasized the need for a solution that can effectively communicate the vehicle’s performance. By simulating gear shifts and engine noises, EV manufacturers aim to bridge the gap between the futuristic silence of electric propulsion and the familiar sensations of driving a combustion engine vehicle.

In addition to simulated gear shifts, BMW M is also exploring the possibility of incorporating fake engine noises that are synchronized with a driver’s inputs. This additional feature aims to enhance the overall driving experience and create a more dynamic and thrilling atmosphere for the driver. While van Meel acknowledged that some artificial engine noises may not sound entirely realistic, he commended Hyundai for their innovative thinking and expressed interest in further developing these technologies for BMW’s future EVs.

Looking ahead, BMW M is actively working on an electric version of the M3 based on its next-generation Neue Klasse platform. Van Meel has hinted that this electric M3 will be a formidable competitor in the EV market, promising to “beat everything.” As BMW continues to push the boundaries of electric performance, the incorporation of simulated gear shifts and engine noises could play a crucial role in defining the driving experience of future EVs.

In conclusion, the concept of simulating gear shifts and engine noises in electric vehicles represents a significant advancement in the automotive industry. By combining the efficiency of electric propulsion with the excitement of traditional driving experiences, EV manufacturers like Hyundai and BMW are paving the way for a new era of electric performance vehicles. As these technologies continue to evolve and improve, drivers can look forward to a more immersive and engaging driving experience in the electrified future of automotive engineering.

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