Ford Developing 10-Speed Transmission – How Many Speeds is Too Many?
With the 2015 Ford F-150 Atlas Concept, Ford displayed a ton of new aerodynamic features. Sources say that a 10-speed transmission is in the works as well. How many transmission speeds are too much?The 2015 Ford F-150 Atlas Concept seems to have done exactly what Ford hoped it would – steal the spotlight from GM. With a large variety of new aerodynamic features it seems to be on its way to meeting CAFE requirements. Among these new features are active wheel shutters that close when reaching highway speeds to reduce drag. Also, it adds active grille sheets and a front air dam to cut the front drag. And it also has power running boards that retract when driving at a high speed. Last, but not least, is word from SAE.org that a 10-speed planetary transmission is in the works.
Most everyone has seemingly figured out by now that to improve gas mileage in trucks, you need to add more speeds. In fact, most automakers either have or are working on 8-speed transmissions combined with more fuel efficient, lighter engines and body frames/styles. And while Ford and GM signed a ” memorandum of understanding” in October according to Pickuptrucks.com, it didn’t seem we would hear anything more about it for a while (see: Ford and Toyota Hybrid Agreement). According to Pickuptrucks.com, “… there may also be ways for transmissions to take advantage of duel-set axle gears that can shift from axle ratio to axle ratio like a 10-speed bike.”
Even though it would shock us to see the 2015 Ford F-150 have a 10-speed transmission, Ford did keep their active wheel shutters secret.
The question then is how many speeds is too many? What will happen when the driver wants to down-shift for more torque, will the truck downshift enough? Or what would happen if they decided to offer this is a manual? Most likely not, since that shifting pattern is largely foreign to most drivers.
We have been saying for a while that the manual transmission is dead, could a 10-speed transmission be the death knell? Most likely it seems. It also seems that the shifting will be more akin to the newer cars with the shifting option on the side if wanted.
Unfortunately, many questions without any real answers. What do you think? Is the CAFE standards forcing automakers to build less “truck” pickups?
Filed Under: Auto News