The new Porsche Taycan is the only electric for sale with two-ratio transmission
Researchers still can’t agree on the future of gearboxes
Advances in electronics have allowed the development of highly effective automatic gearboxes. So much so that even in some models they have eaten so much ground for the manuals that they have ended up disappearing from the catalog. A sea of doubts still floats about the electricity future, among which is the use or not of gearboxes.
We will not tire of saying that the future of the automotive industry depends on electrification, more or less liked by the most purists. These offer some instantaneous accelerations and constant performance across the entire spectrum of operation, making the use of gearboxes meaningless in the first instance.
Make no mistake, the electrics have a gear ratio to increase the torque that reaches the ground, but it is constant, it does not change while driving. So it’s a very interesting fact that Porsche engineers opted to equip a dual-clutch gearbox and two ratios on the rear axle of their first electric, the Taycan.
From Stuttgart they say that it makes the car still faster and more efficient at once. The car accelerates up to 100 km / hour with the first ratio, prioritizing torque for more thrust. Once that speed is reached, it goes to the second speed, which allows the engine to turn fewer laps and save energy.
This makes sense, because according to tests carried out by the renowned manufacturer ZF with a very similar box, they achieved an increase in the autonomy of the 4.7% as well as raising the top speed thanks to its gear ratio compared to the same model with a single gearbox.
However, another heavyweight of electric hypercar, Mate Rimac, confesses to hating the gearboxes for the electric ones, even the one mounted by the Concept One, his first model. This is because it makes them “immensely complex, heavy and inefficient in terms of autonomy, quite the opposite of what you want in a hypercar.”
For the development of its second model, it has finally chosen to mount a single-ratio box, despite considering re-equipping one of two – curiously after a chat with Nico Rosberg. The solution finally carried out has been to make a single box, but more robust to withstand the 900 Newton meter offered by its engine. The result is a transmission set 60 kilos lighter than the first Rimac.
Interestingly, Porsche decided to buy a 15.5% of Rimac participations to develop a record car, we will see which of the two has more weight when choosing how to transmit power to the wheels.
And what about manual transmissions? Kia recently launched a system of smart manual box able to reduce consumption by 3%. It achieves this thanks to the clutch without physical connection –’by wire’–, which allows the engine to be disconnected before the Start / Stop systems with a ratio set to take full advantage of inertia and does not need the driver to put it in neutral in standstill . From Kia they are in favor that these types of changes still have a long way to go, especially with the rise of the ‘mild hybrid’.
For their part, they are aware that their implementation in electric mobility is more complex. For this reason, they advocate that sports electrics have a transmission with an electronic function that simulate a change of gears when the driver dictates it, in the style of CVT boxes. Although, basically, it would also erase some of the charm that makes electric cars special, their linearity, so it will remain to be seen what drivers demand.
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