Could a Clutch-less, Hybrid Transmission Be the Future of Cars?

Hino Dutro X Hybrid Cargo XKU605M Pro Shift

In recent years, the world has seen several new takes on the standard transmission that have shaken the auto world. Continuously variable transmissions and automated manual transmissions were a shock when they were released, but have since entered the mainstream market. However, could something even bigger be on the horizon? An invention by Dan Dorsch, a PhD student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, may soon surpass all of these transmissions, as the go-to transmissions in hybrid cars.

This special new transmission blends important hybrid technology to provide both high-performance speed, as well as increased fuel efficiency, making it one of the most unique pieces of technology in the industry. It can offer cars the speed of a Porsche, while still giving them the efficiency of a small car like a Prius.

Dorsch was asked by a supercar manufacturer if he would work on creating a new transmission for one of their models. Up for the challenge, Dorsch immediately got to work and discovered a new way to build and set up the transmission. Unlike normal transmissions, his new transmissions can rev matches when shifting, and moves the car at the same time. The best part? During normal use, such as driving around the neighborhood, drivers can still choose to use standalone EV mobility. However, when drivers are speeding along the highway, the transmission receives the torque of the motor in order to be propelled, all while boost is building in the engine. This does lead to a delayed sound when accelerating, but Dorsch claims he can find a way to fix that if it is too off-putting to customers, perhaps through imitating the sound instead.

While Dorsch’s transmission has yet to be installed in any cars on the market, he has taken the next step by moving beyond his initial proof-of-concept idea, and into actually developing the transmission. When finished, he hopes that the performance is exactly like that of a dual-clutch transmission, but with much less emissions.

There’s no exact date for production of the transmission, and it is not even known which supercar manufacturer initially approached Dorsch. This just means that eager drivers will have to keep their eye on the market, and keep a lookout for this new technology to begin emerging.

For his efforts, Dorsch was given the Lemelson-MIT “Drive it!” award and earned $15,000.

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