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Ford PowerShift transmissions on the line – Click above for high-res image gallery

The new Ford Fiesta will be the first product from any of the Detroit automakers to have a dual clutch transmission – and production is starting today. The Ford PowerShift gearboxes are being built at the Getrag Americas joint venture factory in Irapuato, Mexico. At launch, the plant is employing 200 people, a number that will double later this year when the plant also starts building the same transmissions for the 2012 Focus.

A dual clutch transmission can almost be thought of as two traditional manual transmissions, each with its own clutch operating in parallel and alternating shifts. The Ford unit is a six-speed with one clutch acting on gears 1,3 and 5 and the other used for 2, 4 and 6. As first gear is engaged, the 2-4-6 clutch is disengaged and the second gear cogs are engaged. At the appropriate time, the 1-3-5 clutch is disengaged the other is engaged. While in second gear, the other side moves from first to third. The process is repeated with quick smooth shifts and none of the of the efficiency loss normally associated with torque converters. The Ford gearbox uses dry clutches which are more efficient than the wet clutches previously used in some earlier Volkswagen DSG gearboxes.

The 1.6-liter Fiesta with PowerShift transmission is expected to get an EPA highway rating of at least 40 miles per gallon. The new Focus will use a 2.0-liter direct injected four with the PowerShift and may also approach 40 mpg.


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[Source: Ford]


PRESS RELEASE
POWERSHIFT TRANSMISSION PRODUCTION BEGINS, DRIVING FORD SMALL CAR FUEL ECONOMY LEADERSHIP
  • Production of new PowerShift dual-clutch automatic transmission for new 2011 Ford Fiesta begins today, helping Ford deliver on its plan for offering fuel-saving six-speed transmissions across its product portfolio
  • Fiesta with PowerShift joins the 2011 Mustang Coupe V-6 as the second recent Ford vehicle to offer better fuel economy with an automatic transmission than a manual
  • PowerShift characteristics are particularly well-suited to smaller car applications, making the transmission a perfect fit for Fiesta and the upcoming Ford Focus
  • Advanced technology with energy-saving electromechanical actuation system minimizes friction helping PowerShift deliver an expected class-leading fuel economy

DEARBORN, Mich., March 29, 2010 – Helping deliver on Ford Motor Company's commitment to class-leading fuel economy and exceptional driving quality, production is launching today of the PowerShift dual-clutch automatic transmission for the 2011 Ford Fiesta.

The new dual-clutch automatic – the first six-speed transmission in the segment – will help the stylish Fiesta to deliver an expected best-in-class fuel economy rating of at least 40 mpg on the highway with the convenience of fully automatic shifting.

The PowerShift automatic is produced for Ford by GETRAG Americas, a joint venture between the GETRAG Group and GETRAG FORD Transmissions. The transmission is built at a new facility in Irapuato, Mexico. The assembly plant was designed and constructed specifically for Ford transmission needs in North America and will also supply PowerShift units for the new Ford Focus. When Focus transmission production begins later this year, the plant will have 400 workers, double the amount that it has now. Next-generation Focus production begins later this year at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich.

"We believe this new automatic transmission for the Fiesta will be the most advanced in the segment, offering far better performance than our competitors," said Piero Aversa, team leader for PowerShift development. "It's an advanced gearbox that reduces complexity, saves weight, increases responsiveness and performance – all while helping keep the engine in its peak efficiency mode – resulting in class-leading fuel economy."

Ford eliminating automatic transmission tradeoffs
The Fiesta is the second new Ford vehicle to deliver better fuel economy using an automatic transmission rather than a manual. The new six-speed automatic in the 2011 Mustang Coupe betters the highway fuel economy of the standard six-speed manual by 2 mpg.

Traditionally, manual transmissions have delivered higher fuel economy. But Ford's latest automatic transmission advancements have reversed the decades-old scenario, using advanced technology to provide customers with exceptional efficiency and the convenience of an automatic transmission.

With an array of new automatic transmission technologies, Ford is out to challenge the status quo by delivering segment-leading fuel economy without compromise to convenience, and accessibility to a much broader segment of the driving public. Fewer drivers possess stick-shift skills, as manual transmission market acceptance continues to drop, falling 22 percent over the last decade.

"Ford's advanced new six-speed automatic transmissions will really surprise our customers, and our competitors," said Barb Samardzich, vice president of Powertrain Development. "They provide the convenience of traditional automatics with fuel economy leadership, as well as responsive performance and driving dynamics that make these cars fun to drive. And we're adding six-speed transmissions to our most accessible vehicles, not just our luxury offerings and high-performance models."

Ford is committed to six-speed transmissions, with availability across 85 percent of its nameplates for 2010. By 2013, these fuel-saving, performance-enhancing six-speed transmissions will be offered in 100 percent of Ford vehicles.

About PowerShift
The dual dry-clutch PowerShift automatic transmission is based on efficient manual transmission technology, eliminating the additional weight and complexity of a torque converter, planetary gears and the fluid pumps employed in traditional automatics. Electronically controlled, twin internal clutches shift gears quickly and smoothly, providing a seamless flow of torque with the refinement and ease customers expect from a premium automatic transmission.

On sale this summer, the Ford Fiesta with PowerShift, in combination with an advanced 1.6-liter I-4 engine, is expected to deliver fuel efficiency of at least 40 mpg on the highway. Fiesta will be the only vehicle in the segment to offer the efficiency and the fun of a sophisticated six-speed automatic transmission.

Coming to market early in 2011, the new Ford Focus will combine an innovative, direct-injection 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with PowerShift to deliver better overall performance and projected fuel economy gains of up to 10 percent over the current Focus 2.0-liter powertrain.

"A dual dry-clutch transmission provides some real dividends on small car applications," said Aversa. "PowerShift with dry-clutch facings and new energy-saving electromechanical actuation for clutches and gear shifts saves weight, improves efficiency, increases smoothness, adds durability and is sealed with low-friction gear lubricant for the life of the vehicle. This transmission requires no regular maintenance
."


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 19 Comments
      • 5 Months Ago
      It seems they missed an oppotunity of combing an electric motor in with the transmission to cope with low speed driving and regen braking
        • 5 Months Ago
        I fully expect that the "next" next generation transmissions will have electric motors connected to them. It's too good an idea not to do.

        And for the people who mentionned CVTs. They're dead end technology, too complex and fiddly for automotive use. You need something tough as nails that can work even when it's partially broken. CVTs don't have those qualities at all.
        • 5 Months Ago
        @montrealmustang: You are referring to mechanical CVTs (mCVT). Nissan has a pretty good solution and they don't seem to have reliability issue with it.

        There is electrical CVT (eCVT) used in Prius and other Toyota/Lexus/Ford hybrids. It combines e-motor with ICE to accelerate from -25mph to +112mph without changing a single gear. It is only possible due to the ability of e-motor to spin backward, unlike the ICE. The nature of high torque at low speed of e-motor complemented the ICE. The end synergy result is no need to shift in gear. eCVT is very interesting, reliable (5 moving parts) and efficient.
      • 5 Months Ago
      So your solution is that Ford rebuild all its 15k - 20k compacts and subcompacts as 25k - 40k hybrids and electrics?

      There's a reason not every car on the road uses the Prius system. It doesn't work well unless you have an electric assist motor. And that assist motor adds cost to the vehicle, and requires batteries... which add even more cost... and a more complex control system for the drivetrain... more cost again.

      A dual-clutch transmission is relatively complicated and expensive compared to a regular automatic, but not on the order of a full hybrid system... in fact... the cost difference isn't much different from the cost premium of a regular automatic over a regular manual... and it gives better performance and economy than a regular automatic.

      For most road cars, a 6-speed DCT will not suffer much in comparison to a CVT in terms of smoothness. That jetliner comparison? That's the biggest complaint of CVT users regarding their cars. The irritating drone of the engine as it stays at one rpm while the car accelerates.

      And that's about the only complaint I have, really, against the powertrain in the third-gen Prius... the nasty drone of the gasoline engine when you're at speeds that the electric drivetrain is not efficient at. If you can believe it, a Honda Civic is actually quieter at speed.
        • 5 Months Ago
        Quality parts cost more but they last longer. It saves you time and effort fixing the unreliable mechanical moving parts.

        Prius eCVT has a lot less moving parts and it costs more due to the nature of low production scale. Guess what? It still saves money on gas so it can pay for itself. It is a superior system that can pay for itself. The cost of hybrid system is coming down fast. It will reach compact car market in a year with lower price tag. Competition is kicking up a notch and scrambling to catch up with the bar (Prius) set.

        I don't know where you got the data for Prius highway road noise. I can tell you Prius ICE rev lower than the step gear Civic at any speed.

        Gen2 Prius make 73.1 decibels at 60 MPH and 77.7 in full throttle. What are the numbers for the Civic?

        Gen3 Prius V comes with 17" rims with low profile tires. Low profile will make more noise so be very careful with your apple-to-apple comparison! Most of the noise are from the road/tire anyway so both cars need to use the same set of tire as well.

        As for the "irritating drone" comment, change is a b*tch isn't it? You want to keep horse power at peak. Fluctuating power is a defect in the design. The engine should be at full load / speed at all time as requested.
        • 5 Months Ago
        Errh... from actual experience?

        At the 80 km/h / 50 mph that the Prius is optimized for in terms of economy (and at which it can maintain a steady 58 mpg even if highway conditions are not optimal for battery regeneration), the Prius ICE is relatively quiet, though road noise is a bit more than in the Civic. And this is the Prius on the Japanese 15" wheels with aero-covers on Yokohama A-Specs that provide the least rolling resistance, least drag and best economy.

        At the 120 km/h / 75 mph that American drivers will typically drive at, the drone of the Prius's ICE (and it will always be on to maintain that speed, it can't coast on electric at this point... but still returns a pretty good 40 mpg) is annoying. Not really noisy, yes, but annoying when you have the radio off. The Civic at this point is using more revs, but the R18 is actually smoother and quieter than the 1.8 in the Prius.

        The Prius is many things, but it is not the quietest car on the road. It's a valid complaint... because... in a car that wants people to forget that it actually has a gasoline engine, it doesn't do a very good job of hiding that fact.

        The Civic? Oh. 68 dB at a 70 mph cruise. I'd imagine it would be lower at 60. The Civic hybrid posts even better dB numbers.

        -

        Oh yes... it's better to design an engine that stays at optimum rpms all the time... which is one point where the Prius becomes unnecessarily complex... using the gasoline motor purely as a generator would make it a much better car. It's uncannily quiet in all-electric mode, the new electric motor has quite a lot of punch, and the car does everything as well as a regular gasoline car. But... the extra weight of hybrid hardware is telling. A Prius weighs nearly 500 pounds more than a Civic of the same engine size and interior space. The amazing economy could be even more amazing if they simplified it... having the gasoline engine only as an on-demand power generator and running on pure electric instead...

        Of course... if the point is to save the world, you could always just switch to a 100 mpg scooter...

        -

        Unreliable mechanical moving parts? So a planetary gearbox is not a complex, mechanical moving part? A DCT is incredibly complex, but the dual-clutch system limits wear-and-tear by allowing little-to-no-slip and eliminates wear-and-tear from clunky engagement and synchro issues. I don't prefer it to a standard manual, but it's a fair bit better than a standard auto-box. And again, until you have hybrid drivetrains cheap enough to put on family grocery getters, then a DCT is a good alternative to the traditional automatic.

        I'm not holding my breath on hybrid prices. The speed with which technology will drive down the prices of battery controllers is encouraging, but the primary price driver for hybrid prices is, and has always been, the expense of batteries and exotic electric motor components (you could use cheaper motors, but they'd be much heavier), not a trend that will change soon. At least pure electrics can get away with a bulkier but cheaper drive motor, as they don't have the packaging issues that hybrids have... but they still suffer from the huge price of batteries.

        -

        If you think I'm a recidivist Neanderthal... then you're wrong. We actually have an electric vehicle in the family, used for short trips. I've got a propane-bi-fuel car, and I'm going to be converting my diesel to SVO soon. I've had an eye on the technology for years, and I've been watching the prices of hybrid and electric vehicle components closely. As it is, the cheapest electric vehicle that can pass muster in most of the world as a replacement for, say, a Hyundai i10 (one size below the Yaris), with all of the accessories demanded by the modern market, still costs as much as a Honda Civic. And crash-worthiness is horrible. Mainstream-sized electrics and hybrids still cost twice as much as the said Civic if you remove government incentives. And if other taxpayers have to pay for your personal convenience and gas savings, then there's something wrong there. (yes, there are government incentives elsewhere for propane, but even without them, it makes sense).
      • 5 Months Ago
      I Just got the 2011 Ford Fiesta in July, Honestly i lovee the car, but the Tansmission Sucks! It takes forever to get up to speed, and when someone idiot break checks you the clutches are grinding, and make noises and stuff, it becomes annoying because it hard to know if the car is actually suppose to do that or is something really wrong, and when i took it into Ford they said, " your Transmission is an automatic but acts as a stick shift" Who would make something like that? Its really hard to work it the right way to get it to shift right.
      • 5 Months Ago
      Can anyone tell me why CVTs aren't used? Wouldn't they be more efficient than a series of fixed gear ratios and more responsive to instantaneous input from the driver?
        • 5 Months Ago
        unreliable? What about all those Priuses (Prii?) that are still on the road? What about the cab companies from New York to California that have run thousands of Escape hybrids over 300,000 miles, then replaced them with new Escape hybrids? I've never heard of any reliability problems with CVTs.

        I agree that they do require an aural break-in, so to speak - in my Mariner hybrid, under moderate acceleration, I went from about 35 mph to almost 50 mph an the rpms barely budged the entire time - hung right around 2000 rpm. That sounded weird to my ears that are used to revving up through fixed gears.
        • 5 Months Ago
        cool. Thanks.
        • 5 Months Ago
        Probably reliability ( they do not have a great track record thus far ), and drive-ability ( they feel weird ).

        CVTs may be superior technically but DCTs have killer driveability characteristics and i imagine, if they were designed well, could run for an extremely long time before changing the clutch(es)
        • 5 Months Ago
        CVTs have less ratio spread.
        Widest ratio spread CVT is 7.3:1, JF015E, but has a low/high gear set [city/highway]
        The Porsche Panamera has 10:1 with 7 forward gears.

        The Prius uses an IVT, not CVT.
        • 5 Months Ago
        The prius hybrid actually has a 1-speed planetary gear setup.

        A lot of CVT complaints have came from Nissans..
        I think CVTs can be okay, they just don't have a great reputation yet.
      • 5 Months Ago
      fail
      electric drive needs no clutch nor gears and certainly not two damned clutches. morons
        • 5 Months Ago
        Yeah, because they should only sell the electric focus that very few can afford instead of the gas powered one that sells like hotcakes for ~$17k.

        Reasoning fail
      • 5 Months Ago
      There are durability concerns with CVTs small and light enough to be placed on small cars. Honda has had so many issues with its small CVTs that they ditched them on US-spec Honda Fits and eliminated them altogether on the second-generation Fit.

      The way to eliminate clutch issues with ultra-efficient CVTs is to add a torque-converter. At which point, your CVT may still retain the smoothness and performance of a CVT, but inherits one of the greatest drawbacks of the traditional automatic... frictional losses through the slushbox.

      A dual-clutch automated manual gearbox gives you nearly the same smoothness as a CVT and retains most of the economy and power transmission of a manual.

      Theoretically, of course... the Powershift box is much heavier than a comparable six-speed manual... and that extra weight does have an effect on fuel economy in the city. By my estimation, from driving both the 6MT and Powershift Focus, you lose about 2-4 mpg (US) in mixed driving.
        • 5 Months Ago
        The upshift may be smooth but you still hear the engine rpm revving up and down. Some may find it annoying. Imagine a jetliner taking off with it's engine revving up and down.There is also delay with the downshift.

        The best transmission is not needing one at all. If a powertrain can accelerate from -25 mph to +112 mph, without changing a single gear ratio, there is no need for a transmission (middle man). Integration of powertrain and transmission into one is the future, or is it? Such car is available since 1997 in Japan and now best selling car in Japan.

        More info at: http://www.ecrostech.com/prius/original/Understanding/Contents.htm

        • 5 Months Ago
        Great link to the Prius technology.
        Many thanks.
      • 5 Months Ago
      Oh lordy.
      Sign me up for a 40mpg Dual clutch DI 2.0 car NOW. :)

      I love manual transmission cars, but nothing beats a DCT.. I would think a DCT would have less parasitic loss too, since the internals would not have to be designed to withstand the kind of abuse manual transmissions go through ( dumping the clutch, upshifts, burnouts, mis-shifts, etc... ).

      Good stuff.. geez, Ford is not producing bargain boxes like they used to, huh.
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