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May 10 2013

Automatic Manual Transmission - Future of Pocket Friendly Automatics?


Two basic types of gearboxes are in present in the market, one is the standard manual transmission and the other is the automatic transmission. Now, we all know how the manual transmission works, driver presses clutch pedal and shifts the lever into the new gear position releasing the clutch pedal and initiating the gear. In case of the automatic transmission, driver puts the lever into D mode and simply use punch the accelerator to drive around without any fuss.


However, Automatic Manual Transmission, is the new kid on the block, it’s an automatic gearbox mated with a manual gearbox, while the driver enjoys the fun of an automatic gearbox while being able to shift gears like in a manual gearbox, also getting a better fuel efficiency than a standard automatic gearbox.


In an Automatic Manual Transmission (AMT), there isn’t a clutch pedal, so the driver doesn’t actually get to decide the gear but simply shift up & down. There’s an onboard smart computer that will manage all the gear numbers, all the driver will manage is the up & down shifting. The usual automatic gearbox use something known as a “torque converter”, like in manual cars there’s a clutch that disconnects the gearbox from the engine, in automatic transmission cars there is a torque converter which allows independent movement of the engine.


For example: When you have stopped on the side of the road on neutral, the engine passes small amount of torque through the converter, because at idling the engine doesn’t need much power, which you do by applying less pressure on the brake pedal in an automatic transmission car. So, basically if you try to press the accelerator while the brakes are applied, you’ll have to squeeze the brakes harder for the car to not move from its position. Why this happens is because, when you press the accelerator pedal, the engine pumps in more fluid to the torque converter, meaning more power to the wheels. Meaning the torque converter decreases the fuel efficiency.


The automatic manual transmission gearbox doesn’t have a torque converter, hence gives better fuel efficiency. Fiat Group’s component division “Magneti Marelli” makes this gearbox for them. Chances are vast that the AMT will enter Indian market soon. With automatics being accepted by the Indian buyers nowadays more than earlier when even the knowledge of a car variant offered in automatic was dreaded just because of its low fuel efficiency.

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