Kia’s parent company Hyundai Motor Group has developed the world’s first Active Shift Control (ASC) transmission technology. The new innovation is said to optimise transmission efficiency by monitoring gear shifts 500 times per second, precisely adjusting the transmission rotation speed for faster shift times. This is especially beneficial for upcoming Kia hybrid cars.

ASC applies a new control logic software to the Hybrid Control Unit (HCU), which then controls the electric motor to align the rotational speeds of the engine and transmission to reduce gear shift time by 30%. The technology also delivers smoother gear changes despite quicker shift times.

Conventional hybrids typically don’t feature torque converters in order to improve fuel economy, and that’s because torque converters lose energy during the process of shifting gears. Although this helps save fuel, such a system also requires longer shift times to ensure smoother gear changes.

With ASC, the electric motor can also take control of gear shifts, mitigating issues with slower shift time. The HCU enables quicker synchronisation, thereby reducing shift times from 500 ms to 350 ms. This also improves a hybrid car’s acceleration performance, fuel economy, and durability by minimising friction during gear shifts.

Hyundai Motor Group’s vice president and head of powertrain control system group, KyoungJoon Chang said: “The development of world’s first ASC technology is a remarkable innovation which incorporates precise motor control to automatic transmission. It will not only save fuel but also provide a more fun driving experience for our customers.”