Manual transmissions are forecast to remain the global gearbox of choice in 2025 with 41% of the market and the production of dual clutch transmissions is expected to nearly double from the current 8% to 13% in the same time frame, states a report in Automotive News Europe (June 2106).
Continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) are also forecast to gain mainly at the expense of the automatic transmission. CVTs are expected to see their share of car transmissions increase by 4% to 17%, and the automatic transmission decrease from 35% to 29%.
One of the key new developments which is expected to boost the fuel economy and driver comfort of manual transmissions without a significant increase in cost is the electrification of the clutch.
The so-called ‘E-Clutch’ developed by automotive supplier Schaeffler AG’s transmission system division in Herzogenaurach, Germany, either operates the clutch only in specific driving situations or completely automates all clutch operations. This is said to allow fuel-saving driving strategies, from ‘sailing’ or ‘coasting’ to electrically supported driving, to be integrated into vehicles with manual transmissions.
“The E-Clutch from Schaeffler paves the way for hybridization of manual transmissions, thereby opening up new markets and market segments,” stated Uwe Wagner, Vice President Automotive R&D at Schaeffler. Using a 1.2 litre petrol engine demonstration vehicle, Schaeffler has shown that it is possible to achieve savings of up to 8% in urban driving conditions.
The function of ‘sailing’ not only helps in the future consumption cycle, but can also be claimed today as an “eco-innovation” for the approval of reduced CO2 emissions. Schaeffler reports that ten vehicles are currently being tested with the e-clutch and that at least one vehicle will be fitted with the system by 2018.