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“Gear shifter”, time for it to go?

Posted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:50 pm
by HoustonFlier
Ever wonder why the Leaf has an “old style” like gear shifter?
(I thought about posting as debate topic, but it is more my wish as a suggestion.)

The rational to keep something that looks like a "gear shifter" in Leaf was familiarity to “old fashioned” GAS cars, but to keep a feature of something EV tries to supplement seems incredibly anachronistic (EV is, after all, is change in the future of cars).

Because the “shifter” is simply an electronic switch for a power controller (like a relay), it can be any size, shape, or color; thus mounted anywhere.
Its current location is much better served to hold my smartphone, keys (no ignition key), or, dare I say, cup holders!

I was also surprised at the counter-intuitive operation of the shifter! I have handled a number of automatic and stick cars, even golf carts, and I found the shifter movement somewhat foreign. Of course I will adapt, but for the first few times I had to pause and think about what to do.


My ideal “shifter” would be just to right of “start” button, prominent and easy to ID, perhaps a short lever (the Toyota Sienna minivan has it right up on dash for example, and some 50’s car even had Push-Button shifters!!).
The ECO mode button is better on steering wheel, as driving environment could change unexpected, keep it under thumb.

Parking brake location:
That one I do not understand fully its operation. Electromechanical?
American cars have a step on/off pedal parking brake. I think that is viable.
Alternative is lever to side, rather then the large switch currently installed.

Other opinions?

Re: “Gear shifter”, time for it to go?

Posted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:16 pm
by thankyouOB
i like the shifter.
as to "as driving environment could change unexpected, keep it under thumb."
these are hardly racing situations that we find ourselves in 99.9% of the time in this car. Even in a dire situation, it is brake and steer that matters, not whether you can "downshift" to ECO.

As someone who still drives a stick in my other car, i find it no deal at all to work the hockey puck. Rather, I like it.

Re: “Gear shifter”, time for it to go?

Posted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:23 pm
by rawhog
And I like the parking brake switch :D

Re: “Gear shifter”, time for it to go?

Posted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:35 pm
by smkettner
I like them both but what takes up all the space in the console? I want more storage or remove the console.

Re: “Gear shifter”, time for it to go?

Posted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:46 pm
by TickTock
I'm with HoustonFlier. Lose the hockeypuck. Not only that, I'd like to see the left/right division eliminated. Bring back the front bench seat and room to stretch your legs. Keep the bucket seats - you can still have the fold down armrest in the middle, but lose the whole center console.

Re: “Gear shifter”, time for it to go?

Posted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:53 pm
by Boomer23
thankyouOB wrote:i like the shifter.
as to "as driving environment could change unexpected, keep it under thumb."
these are hardly racing situations that we find ourselves in 99.9% of the time in this car. Even in a dire situation, it is brake and steer that matters, not whether you can "downshift" to ECO.

As someone who still drives a stick in my other car, i find it no deal at all to work the hockey puck. Rather, I like it.
+1 for me. It is just natural to reach down and toggle the puck without looking, just like a gearshift. I like the design touch, it looks hi tech and interesting. No dashboard-mounted levers for me, please.

And bench seats? Come off it.

Re: “Gear shifter”, time for it to go?

Posted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:09 pm
by Nubo
Auto trans shifters are electrical too. Push-button shifting was possible, and tried, decades ago. The public never embraced it. The shift lever was an anachronism 50 years ago but we still have it.

Re: “Gear shifter”, time for it to go?

Posted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:27 pm
by skippycoyote
I personally like the "gear shifter" where it is at. My mom's Prius has it next to the steering wheel, and I hated having to lean forward to shift and put it in park (I'm only 5'4''). Even though I haven't driven a manual transmission in awhile, I find comfort in resting my arm on the armrest and having my hand on or near the shifter. Plus, it is easy and fairly intuitive to hit the park button and the park lever.

Re: “Gear shifter”, time for it to go?

Posted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:41 pm
by garygid
One should not be required to lean forward to the dash while driving.

A mechanical wire for the Parking Brake would be a lot less expensive, and more reliable, IMO.

The console does little now, other than perform as a "bundling board". More leg-room would be great.

Re: “Gear shifter”, time for it to go?

Posted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:43 pm
by ksnogas2112
I like it too but then I'm from a looong line of manual transmission vehicles (like all but 3 years since '85) until last Saturday when I got my Leaf. One co-worker said 'hey it's a neat mouse for your car'.