Fuel prices continue to rise, and Ford continues to raise the bar on fuel efficiencies. One surprising example of the company’s fuel efficient technology is the PowerShift transmission.
The PowerShift unit available in Ford Fiesta and Focus models is one of the most advanced transmissions available for subcompact and compact cars. Dual-clutch transmissions, like PowerShift, were born at the racetrack and saw their application for production road cars in ultra-expensive exotics, such as the $1.7 million Bugatti Veyron and $200,000 Ferrari California.
Among competitor vehicles in the Focus segment – Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Jetta, Hyundai Elantra, Chevrolet Cruze and Nissan Sentra – none offers drivers more horsepower, faster acceleration and higher fuel economy with an automatic transmission. Plus, no other car in the Fiesta segment offers a six-speed automatic of any type.
PowerShift is part of a suite of advanced fuel-saving technologies available immediately on the Ford Fiesta and the all-new Focus, enabling both cars to deliver as much as 40 mpg on the highway.
How it Works
Unlike regular hydraulically operated automatic transmissions, which use power-sapping torque converters, wet clutches and pumps, the new dual-clutch Ford PowerShift automatic consists of two manual transmissions (in the same case) working in parallel. Each has its own independent clutch unit controlled by computers and fast-acting electromechanical actuators that shift the gears.
One clutch carries the odd gears, 1, 3 and 5, while the other carries the even gears, 2, 4 and 6, and reverse. PowerShift is an automatic because the gear changes are coordinated by a computer that directs the clutches to engage and disengage in a way that provides seamless delivery of torque to the wheels, even during gear changes.
As a result, the driver benefits from a 10 percent fuel economy gain along with the direct and sporty power-to-the-wheels feel and crisp acceleration normally associated with a manual gearbox, but in a transmission that shifts automatically.
Ford PowerShift advanced features include:
Ford engineers began developing the dual-clutch technology when advances in the speed of processors, memory and the mechanical actuators that shift the gears progressed to the point that a manual transmission could be made to perform as smoothly as an automatic.
More than 95 percent of new-car buyers purchase their vehicles with automatic transmissions, even though many prefer the crisper acceleration, sportier performance and higher fuel economy traditionally offered by manual transmissions. The Ford PowerShift dual dry-clutch transmission delivers the convenience of an automatic with the fuel efficiency and fun-to-drive sporty feel of a manual gearbox.
PowerShift is part of the Ford commitment to lead or be among the leaders in fuel economy in every segment in which the company competes. Ford offers six-speed transmissions in nearly its entire North American lineup of Ford and Lincoln brand luxury vehicles. Ford is the only automaker to offer North American vehicle buyers 12 sales segment fuel economy leaders, with four vehicles EPA-certified at 40 mpg or higher.