Just months after the wet-clutch 6-speed Powershift dual clutch transmission was released by Ford (and available in Thailand on the Ford Focus TDCi), Ford has announced a new dry clutch version, which will be installed in small cars in North America. The dry clutch transmission is lighter as it does not require hydraulic pumps and fluids, cooling lines and external cooling, unlike its wet clutch counterpart which has clutches bathed in oil.
The Powershift transmission is essentially a manual transmission with two clutches, but has the following algorithms to help it perform as smoothly as a real automatic:
- Neutral coasting – The clutches will automatically disengage during coasting when the brakes are applied to reduce parasitic losses, helping with fuel economy.
- Precise clutch slip control – this improves NVH and smoothness at low engine speeds.
- Creep mode – Some twin clutch transmission do not creep. Creeping is when your automatic transmission car moves forward automatically without having to press the accelerator as long as you let go of the brakes.
- Hill assist – Automatically maintains brake pressure on slopes to prevent the vehicle from rolling back on a gradient surface.
Ford says it wants its vehicles to go nearly 100% 6-speed by the year 2013, and a large number of this will be twin clutch applications. The trucks will probably stick with a torque converter automatic, but with 6 ratios.