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

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  • 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 simulating 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

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 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. Toyota and Dodge have developed simulated gearshifts in forthcoming EVs, as well. 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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