Hate shifting into first gear in traffic but love your manual transmission? This is for you.
At Jean Knows Cars, we’re big fans of manual transmissions, and we think everybody should learn to drive stick shift, but we’re willing to admit that for drivers who frequently navigate in heavy traffic, driving a stick can turn into a chore. It’s always been a choice that shifting enthusiasts are faced with: drive an automatic so you don’t spend half your driving life with your foot hovering over the clutch pedal, or stick with the stick and accept sore shins as part of the bargain. If automotive parts supplier Bosch has its way, though, this decision could soon become a thing of the past. Bosch has developed a technology it calls the eClutch, which allows drivers to shift into first gear without using the clutch pedal. Essentially, this means that a car equipped with eClutch could be driven like an automatic, using only the brake and gas pedals, in stop-and-go traffic.
The Art of Shifting into First
Drivers will still need to use the clutch to shift into second and higher gears, but Bosch believes the eClutch can “close the gap” between driving a manual and an automatic. Practically anyone who’s learned (or tried to learn) how to drive a stick shift will agree that mastering the art of shifting into first gear from a standing stop is the toughest part of the process. Even for shifts into higher gears, the system will help ensure smooth gear changes by automatically adjusting engine speed when it detects that the driver is changing gears.
Coasting to Improve MPG
The eClutch could also result in significant fuel economy savings in equipped cars, thanks to a coasting function that decouples the engine from the clutch when the driver stops accelerating, allowing the car to coast and resulting in what Bosch says could be up to a ten percent saving in fuel economy.
Any Takers?Looking back on my own experience learning to drive a manual transmission, I can’t help thinking that the whole process would have been much smoother if the car could have shifted into first gear for me. Could this be the magic bullet for reluctant learners? Bosch hasn’t said whether it’s found a customer for eClutch, but if anyone’s asking us, we’re all for it!