Dom,

I'm actually right with you on the manual transmission. I like the control you get with the shifter as well. It's just that that it may be a thing of the past.

As far as cost goes: Once the demand goes down and the supply goes up, and the the car companies fully admit that the electric part of the drivetrain is the most powerful and efficient, a strong, full hybrid will be much cheaper than any pure ICE vehicle. It's cheaper since it can:

- eliminate the transmission altogether
- reduce the size of the ICE
- reduce the complexity of the ICE (no need for sophisticated timing and emissions controls)
- reduce maintenance to minimal amounts (no brake changes, fewer oil changes and tune-ups)

However the control/fun factor CAN still be present in a strong hybrid since there are several factors that can be tweaked to optimize performance, speed, and economy, similiar to what one can do by shifting today.

These are:

- adjust the strength of the regenerative braking
- adjust when you use ICE -vs- when you use EV only based on anticipation of hills and state of battery charge.

The EV1 had a switch on the 'shifter' that allowed you to engage or disengage the regenerative braking. It did not offer any ability to adjust the amount of regen but by switching it on or off, I could adjust my deceleration as I was coasting off the freeway, similiar to using engine braking with a manual transmission or how I use the clutch on our HCHM5 today.

For acceleration, once you've felt smooth EV acceleration from zero to 60 in 4 or 5 seconds, you'll never really feel any urge to want to pause the exhilaration to shift. Today's wimpy hybrids clearly don't provide enough EV acceration for anyone to be able to appreciate this.

Right now, the manufacturers are trying to make the hybrid drivetrain as transparent to drivers as possible. Perhaps, with enough feedback, as drivers become more familiar with the hybrid drive, they'll start providing more hooks to be able to control the drivetrain and squeeze a little more performance (speed and economy) out of it.

On the other hand, you can wonder if; had the automatic transmission preceded the manual; would auto manufacturers ever have provided manual transmissions? Would they have been afraid that they would scare drivers away? Remember that there are very few cars made in the US that even have manual transmissions today.

Either way, I'm with you though. Today's hybrids should have a manual transmission option.