BMW Working on 7-Speed Manual Without a Clutch Pedal
Patent drawings show a gearbox with an 'electromechanical shift actuator,' meaning it would require no driver skill to operate.
This is not so much news as a steppingstone to another, more interesting piece of information. This isn't the first 7-speed manual to be developed. Porsche offers a 7-speed manual in the 991-generation 911; it's the first gearbox of its type to be offered in a passenger car, but it is by no means revolutionary. Porsche's 7-speed is built up from the 7-speed used in its PDK twin-clutch automated transmission. If you're not familiar, PDK is the lightning-fast automatic transmission found in the 991. Versions of the technology also appear in other Porsche products.
Before we go any further, it's best to keep in mind that patent applications are not reality. Most patents, even those from carmakers, don't see the light of engineering day. The United States Patent Office, for example, issues more than 150,000 patents per year to individuals and companies worldwide, and only a fraction of those are ever brought to production.
The obvious benefit of such a device is to keep people from grossly inappropriate shifts -- a fifth-to-first shift at 60 mph, for example, when the driver really wants third gear. But that's just a side benefit. The greater purpose is to make a 7- or even 8-speed manual more practical.
Sam Smith is a journalist, a southerner, and a reformed Alfa Romeo mechanic who spends most of his time mooning over ancient racing cars and small-batch bourbon. A multiple International Automotive Media award-winner, he has written for Automobile Magazine, Car and Driver, and Esquire, among other publications. He once drove 4,000 miles in a weekend for a hamburger and has only been threatened by the German police twice.
"As much as I bemoan the waning of the 3-pedal gearbox, a 2-pedal manual is better than none at all."
Um, the gear box doesn't use pedals, the clutch does. The clutch uses 1 pedal.
The question should be more about the clutch actuation. Most of the details provided discuss the connection between the shift knob and the gearbox. Its been levers and cables before and the details provided now show a shift-by-wire set. That is separate from the single pedal used to engage/disengage the clutch.
The clutch is the most citical part for smooth operation, and in normal conditions is only necessary when bringing the vehicle to or from a complete stop. (Though the clutch and synchro gears make it easier to shift.)
I see getting ride of the mechanical linkages and advantage in shift smoothness and layout freedom.
Until the clutch can be actuated psychically, there needs to be a pedal.
No, I am not ready. I will never be ready. This is just another automatic transmission with a shifter mimicking a manual one.
No, no, no!!!
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