Do EVs need to simulate gear shifts? BMW and Hyundai think so


Do EVs need to simulate gear shifts? BMW and Hyundai think so

  • Hyundai and BMW think consumers want EVs to simulate shift points
  • Hyundai already sells the Ioniq 5 N, which is a sporty EV featuring fake shift points
  • BMW’s now working on simulate gearshifts for its future EVs

The 2025 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N brought simulated gear shifts to a production EV. Now it appears BMW is working on something similar.

In an interview with Top Gear (via BMW Blog), Frank van Meel, the boss of BMW’s M performance division, said he liked Hyundai’s approach, adding that BMW is also working on simulated gearshifts. Most EVs lack multi-speed transmissions, but simulating them in a performance car could be useful for providing feedback to the driver, van Meel suggested.

BMW Vision Neue Klasse concept

“In a pure EV with one gear, no sound and no emotion, you don’t know if you’re doing 125, 150, or whatever,” van Meel told Top Gear. “You need a solution for that.” He also said BMW M has been working on simulated gearshifts “for some years already” and has developed “some very interesting approaches.”

In a similar vein, BMW M is considering fake engine noises that by synced with a driver’s inputs, according to van Meel. That’s also something Hyundai has done with the Ioniq 5 N, which replicates the snaps, crackles, and pops of the gasoline Elantra N. As long as they sound convincing, the BMW M boss doesn’t see a problem with this.

2025 BMW M3

2025 BMW M3

“We wouldn’t do a fake supercar or spaceship noise,” van Meel said, adding that while he didn’t think the artificial engine noises in the Ioniq 5 N sounded realistic, he liked the way Hyundai thinks.

This comes after van Meel, in a separate interview, said BMW M is developing an electric version of the M3 based on its next-generation Neue Klasse platform that will “beat everything.” Whether it will do so with simulated shifts and engine noises remains to be seen.

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