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Ford Patent Filed For Manual Transmission With Electric Clutch

Ford Motor Company has filed a patent for a manual transmission with an electric clutch, Ford Authority has learned.

The patent was filed on December 19th, 2018, published on November 11th, 2021, and assigned serial number 11174940B2.

The Ford Authority Take

Manual transmissions, as a whole, have been increasingly difficult to find in vehicles over the past several years as more and more consumers shun them for automatic gearboxes. Regardless, the Ford Bronco launched last year with a new 7-speed manual that has proven pretty popular with buyers thus far, to the point where it can be paired with the Sasquatch Package for the 2022 model year.

Manual transmissions have largely fallen out of favor, however, as automatics now shift quicker than a human can, coupled with the fact that they’re simply a bit of a chore to drive in heavy traffic. However, this new Ford patent aims to make manuals a bit more liveable by using an electric clutch, which allows the driver to shift using only their hand – no clutch leg required.

The Ford patent describes how this system might work, starting with a vehicle controller that’s capable of operating the clutch via hydraulics, which is pressurized using a master cylinder. When the driver shifts into a different gear, the system automatically sends a signal that in turn operates the clutch, though it could also be disengaged if the driver wants the full experience of enjoying a traditional manual transmission by operating the clutch themselves.

Such a system would make manual transmissions a bit more approachable for those that may have otherwise shunned them, though this patent depicts a rather complicated setup compared to a traditional row-your-own gearbox. Regardless, it could also save the manual as driver-assist features like automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control are making them cost-prohibitive as take rates rapidly decline.

We’ll have more Ford patents like this to share soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for 24/7 Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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Comments

  1. David Dickinson

    I can see why Ford wants this…they can’t use a bunch of new tech features with a manual transmission. But, I don’t really see a market for this transmission. Most automatics have an “autostick” feature if you want to shift gear-by-gear. I don’t think this new transmission will appeal to people that like manual transmissions and it looks seriously expensive to build (which means it looks even more expensive to repair). I can see Ford pushing this to get rid of true manual transmissions entirely.

    Reply
    1. NCEcoBoost

      I agree. What another waste of money. Folks just don’t want manual transmissions, aside from the die-hard sports car lovers (and THOSE numbers keep dwindling), so just scrap the manuals altogether. It’s maybe Billy Boy’s latest personal project?

      Reply
  2. Chipster

    Yes, seems a bit silly because a DCT is already an “automatic manual” and many automatic transmissions can be manually controlled in various ways. EVs will eventually eliminate the need for most transmissions. I enjoy the cars I have owned past and present with manual transmissions, but they are no fun if you commute regularly in stop & go traffic. Maybe this electric clutch system could be simpler and less complicated than a DCT? Will be interesting to see if this idea goes into production.

    Reply
  3. Brett

    I love manual transmissions, not just for weekend toys or sports cars.
    That said, this autoclutch takes away what makes driving a manual special.
    It is not the boy-racer video game paddle-shifter vision that the masses want.

    Reply
  4. petrolheaad

    Very interesting, but probably the patent won’t be granted, because such manu-matics used to be common in 60’s/70’s german vehicles (Beetle and other) from former world renownend clutch supplier “Sachs” which later got bought/ split up into INA/ Schaeffler etc. Then it reappeared at Mercedes for the A-Class small van. And it also reappeared lately with some Hyundai/ Kia cars again.

    Reply

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