Ten is a lot of forward gears, and Ford’s new 10-speed automatic transmission in the Ford F-150 Raptor – a transmission co-developed with General Motors – puts the automaker ahead of the curve with regard to using more gear ratios in order to optimize efficiency.
Yet apparently, while the all-new Ford Ranger Raptor was being developed, Ford’s engineers considered transmissions with as many as twelve or thirteen speeds. The Ranger Raptor, unveiled earlier in the month for certain global markets (excluding North America), draws its power from a 210-horsepower/369-lb-ft 2.0-liter diesel. That’s plenty, and given the truck’s performance aspirations, giving drivers a gearbox that can keep it always in the power band is important.
“We actually did simulations during the exhaustive testing process for the optimum number of gear ratios for a rear-wheel drive truck of this size and power,” Ford Asia Pacific Transmission and Driveline Engineering Manager John Fallu told CarAdvice recently. “We looked at seven speeds, nine speeds all the way up to 12 and 13 speeds, to see if – from a performance perspective and an efficiency perspective – what truly is optimal for the design.”
Eventually, Ford settled on the 10-speed for its new Ranger Raptor, which Fallu called “just incredible” in terms of refinement. “Even the shift busyness you would expect from more gear shifts just isn’t perceptible, because it’s just so smooth in that regard – almost imperceptible, and there’s even rev-matching on the downshifts.” And as for performance, the many ratios can keep the engine at or near peak power more of the time, while the torque converter has been “selected specifically for trying to meet – and improve – the launch performance of the engine,” Fallu said.