Fisker's take on the "gear" selector...

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by UsedToLoveCars, Feb 28, 2012.

  1. UsedToLoveCars

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2009
    445
    101
    1
    Location:
    SF
    Vehicle:
    2014 Tesla Model S
    One thing that has always bugged me about the gen III prius is the obnoxiously large gear selector. Under the covers, it is basically a 4-position electrical switch (or maybe a can-bus thing). There is no mechanical linkage to anything, making a large lever a ridiculous throw-back to old cars and wasting precious space with something that could be replaced by some buttons or a dial (a la Jaguar). Maybe it makes people feel important or in control to have a big lever that they can throw around. VRROOOM!

    Anyway, attached is Fisker's take on this user interface. My opinion - kinda style over function-ish, but still better than a lever.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Keiichi

    Keiichi Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2012
    808
    79
    2
    Location:
    Goleta
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Five
    It could be more related to the audience the car is suited for. I would think in cases for luxury based cars, there is a distinctive lack of silly children. I mean, when I was a kid sitting in a Volvo, I wanted to push random buttons. I think in the case of the Jaguar or Fisker, you are probably going to have a more mature audience driving the car, so you would have lower risk of people playing with buttons on accident.

    The stick-gear shifter is probably also something more people are familiar with than pushing buttons, especially on the fly.
     
  3. UsedToLoveCars

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2009
    445
    101
    1
    Location:
    SF
    Vehicle:
    2014 Tesla Model S
    I would think a knob would be more kid safe than a big lever that could get bumped or grabbed by a kid horsing around.

    Or put the gear select buttons to the left of the steering wheel. Problem solved.

    I also think marketers don't think buyers are intelligent. "we can't do this because people are not used to it" - tommyrot - most people will figure it out in 30 seconds. If they can't, they shouldn't be driving.
     
  4. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

    Joined:
    May 22, 2009
    9,083
    5,776
    0
    Location:
    Undisclosed Location
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    I agree...

    I also think some recent criticism of the Prius C standard gear shift taking up so much space is ridiculous, in comparison with the Gen 3 Prius, which has an entire buttress built up, primarily to raise the weird knob into a shifting position.

    So I agree. If Toyota really wanted to streamline or change the look and create more space, the best thing to do would be abandon the shifter and the "dongle".

    I've seen a few threads were Prius owners update their dongle with an aftermarket push button set up.

    IMO the push button set up looks better. But it's still in the same space as the dongle.

    I honestly think the best set up was Gen 2 prius with the knob on the dash.
     
  5. wwest40

    wwest40 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2010
    518
    13
    0
    Location:
    Pacific NW
    Vehicle:
    2003 Prius
    Model:
    I
    Long ago I owned a Mercury, 57-58(?) that had a "Pushbutton" gear selection cluster. It was quite complex mechanically and therefore likely subject to frequent failure.

    Since it become electrically feasible and inexpensive I have long "voted" for shift levels to be replaced by PB's
     
  6. ryogajyc

    ryogajyc Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2004
    985
    162
    0
    Location:
    Reseda, CA
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Advanced
    I read about a 5 button gear selector replacement for the Gen 3 Prius on PriusChat.com, but I can't seem to find it right now.
     
  7. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2009
    12,961
    3,608
    0
    Location:
    Austin, TX, USA
    Vehicle:
    2018 Tesla Model 3
    Model:
    N/A
    In the gen III its a button and a joy stick, and I don't think its intuitive at all. Not that its hard to use, but there is no reason to change from a standard shifter just to be different. That is why I think they went back. I don't see that fisker thing as an advantage over a standard shifter either. If space is a premium the shifter can be on the steering area instead of the floor. Those are the two standards. I'm all for better ergonomics if they actually are better:)
     
  8. wwest40

    wwest40 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2010
    518
    13
    0
    Location:
    Pacific NW
    Vehicle:
    2003 Prius
    Model:
    I
    Looking, thinking back, I'm glad my '63 T-bird had nice and cushy back seats, necking was impossible in the front.
     
  9. Skoorbmax

    Skoorbmax Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2010
    2,641
    263
    0
    Location:
    Western NY
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    II
    I like that, looks nice and really the gear selector in a car like the Prius is completely antiquated, as it's all by wire. Buttons make sense.
     
  10. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2009
    12,961
    3,608
    0
    Location:
    Austin, TX, USA
    Vehicle:
    2018 Tesla Model 3
    Model:
    N/A
    push buttons are so 1964 retro

    The legendary torqueflite automatic transmission

    If you like retro and someone in the 50s idea of what the future held then you should like push buttons

     
  11. Keiichi

    Keiichi Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2012
    808
    79
    2
    Location:
    Goleta
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Five
    Well, also back then, push button selectors were sort of before their time, because most of it was mechanical compared to current day cars where you can do things by wire. In that link it looks like it was also just following what people were used to in general, but of course it can change over time.

    The only other thing I can say with the button gear shifting is that depending on how it is laid out and people familiarizing themselves with that layout and where it is placed, the likelihood of pushing the correct gear on the fly.

    Albiet, most people will not be doing it on the fly when the gears are simplified down to Reverse, Neutral, Drive and Park.
     
  12. Tracksyde

    Tracksyde Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2011
    1,429
    758
    0
    Location:
    So Cal
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    You're probably thinking of the OGS "shifter" (also sold under the Tom's brand). Remove the old shifter, unplug harness, drop this one in, plug in, done..

    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  13. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2009
    12,961
    3,608
    0
    Location:
    Austin, TX, USA
    Vehicle:
    2018 Tesla Model 3
    Model:
    N/A
    These were in place when automatic transmissions were fairly new and standards were not yet set. There is nothing that has really heppened since the 50s to automatics/(e)CVTs/manumatics/automated manuals to make push buttons more favorable now versus then.

    from the previously quoted article -
    Those push buttons were for 2 and 3 speed automatics. The prius shifter takes care of 2 forward modes R/N/D/B and has a button for park - instead of a slider on the link, that is exactly the same controls needed on the Chrysler 2 speed transmission. My previous vehicle also designed by Toyota was a lexus with a floor shifter. Instead of the individual pwr & eco buttons it had a three position switch for snow/normal/power that to me is a better interface - but with it Toyota could not take you out of power mode when you turn it off, as they seem to want to do on the Prius.:eek: It also had a manual area of the shifter that allowed upshits and down shifts between the 5 gears on the steering wheel. If the push buttons or joy stick are really superior I would expect Toyota to implement them on their lexus line.

    Instead I think they are just different, for the sake of being different. You can read in the historical article I posted that many chrysler owners liked them better and did not like the change to the standard column shifter. The question is really without any ergonomic benefit, will being different for different sake please more or less drivers. To me the prius joy stick and instruments looks very 90s and I don't think it really appeals to that 18-34 crowd Toyota wants with the prius c. Now the fisker may be targetting the older al gore type crowd and might be successful there:D
     
  14. Skoorbmax

    Skoorbmax Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2010
    2,641
    263
    0
    Location:
    Western NY
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    II
    Sure there has been. In a Prius you're not manipulating anything physically at all, as evidenced by that interesting picture above your post of a button-only shifter. The only reason the Prius has a conventional looking shifter is because people are used to it, not because you're physically manipulating anything whatsoever. A joystick/lever makes as much sense really as having one to change the air conditioning or turn the radio on. It's only like this because people are comfortable with it.

    Above:
    The Prius' complexity is the same whether it's a shifter like it is now or a button.

    Conceptually this is similar to how throttles are mostly drive by wire now. Prior to that when you pushed the pedal it literally changed airflow into the throttle body via cable. Now you're just telling a servo to do it. It would be no more complex to have that servo operated by a mouse-wheel like dial you move with your hand instead of a pedal if you really wanted it to be one.
     
  15. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2009
    12,961
    3,608
    0
    Location:
    Austin, TX, USA
    Vehicle:
    2018 Tesla Model 3
    Model:
    N/A
    You are electrically physically manipulating:cool: something. This is similar to any modern automatic be it - cvt, ecvt, conventional slush box, manumatic, or automated manual like the new double clutch units. The last two normally give the driver more controls to upshift and down shift though.

    I definitely am not arguing that convention is not part of it. I travel a lot on business, and am in plenty of rental cars. The prius is not any more difficult to use, but it seems overly complicated in interface when I have been driving something else for awhile. Prius backed away from their mfd hvac controls partially because people were not used to them.

    You mean mechanical complexity, sure. This is also true from other automatics, they would not change much. I cut off your quote, and the chrysler push buttons were discontinued before I was born, but I haven't read anything about unreliability or heavy complexity. Do you have a link that this was a problem in '64. There were problems with the different system in the edsel's puch buttons and this perception might have been part of the reasone for killing the design.

    Well from an ergonomic point of view it would be much worse. It would mean you get out of one car and operate the gas pedal one way, then get into the next and have to use a different physical skill. Aren't their enough distractions to not defy conventions just to be different. I am a pilot so I have learned to operate the throttle with my hand, and rudder with my feet, but this is not a good plan for cars. We use our hands for things like eating or drinking or shifting in a manual, this makes a hand control for fine throttle adjustments a bad choice. In a plane power settings do not need to be made often while doing other things, and the dual rudder control makes sense, especially since it is the convention.

    I have spent time designing UIs, so I have some feelings about them. That fisker thingy does not look like any progress at all. Better things to look at are video game controllers:D A column shift with a normal mechanical lock out, would be just as good:D How about adding glide, max regen, and engine braking to the choices? Some try to glide and a transmission setting would be easier. Max regen would allow better control on twisties and is what is used on the tesla roadster, engine braking is current B.
     
  16. ryogajyc

    ryogajyc Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2004
    985
    162
    0
    Location:
    Reseda, CA
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Advanced
    I disagree. The shifter is more mechanically complex than buttons. Anecdotally, my Gen II shifter started clicking in cold weather b/c the dust cover warped. Meanwhile, I have had no problems with the many more buttons in the rest of the car in any weather.

    Perhaps you are looking for "electro-mechanically"?
     
  17. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2009
    12,961
    3,608
    0
    Location:
    Austin, TX, USA
    Vehicle:
    2018 Tesla Model 3
    Model:
    N/A
    No, did you catch the :cool: I was responding to electrically instead of physically. These things are not really separated:rolleyes:
     
  18. ryogajyc

    ryogajyc Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2004
    985
    162
    0
    Location:
    Reseda, CA
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Advanced
    I did, but it didn't read smoothly to me. Never mind then.
     
Loading...