Power shift transmission cuts fuel consumption by 8 per cent in the Volvo cars, says Volvo R&D team

Mumbai: Volvo Cars research and development team says, power shift gearbox cuts fuel consumption by 8 per cent, which has prompted the German automaker to make new engine variants. The two-litre turbo diesel version of the Volvo C30, S40 and V50 is now also available with a fully-automatic transmission.

In all three models the power shift transmission is mated to the 2-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel, which delivers a power output of 136 hp and 320 Nm of torque. Fuel consumption (EU combined) is 5.9 l/100 km for the C30 and 6.0l/100 km for the S40 and V50.

The power shift transmission developed by Volvo Cars in cooperation with its transmission partner Getrag, is a six-speed unit and it significantly cuts fuel consumption compared with a conventional automatic transmission.
Power shift operates in principle as two parallel manual gearboxes. It has twin wet clutches that work independently of one another. One clutch controls the odd gears (1, 3, 5 and reverse) while the other handles the even gears (2, 4 and 6). The two clutches operate alternately, with one engaging while the other disengages.

This means that when the engine gets full power and maximum thrust in first gear, the second gear is already placed in readiness to be engaged. And when second gear has been engaged, third gear is readied, and so on. This promotes a continuous flood of power without any disruption in power delivery or any torque loss, resulting in extremely fast and silky-smooth gear changes while maintaining acceleration throughout the gear changing process.

The power shift function is based on the technology used in a manual gearbox but with the difference that the two wet clutches are each linked with their own input shaft. One shaft spins inside the other. The inner shaft regulates the output shaft for first, third, fifth and reverse gears, while the outer shaft controls second, fourth and sixth gears. The clutch function is operated by an electro-hydraulic control unit that ensures that one clutch is shut while the other is open, and vice versa.

Each clutch functions like a slip clutch. A piston pushes a number of clutch plates against each other and locks them together through the resultant friction.