Although dual clutch transmission systems are finding widespread application in commercial and passenger automobiles only in recent times, they have been in use for military and racing vehicles for decades. At present, dual clutch transmission setups are increasingly being used by automobile manufacturers in small and medium sized vehicles to meet regulation compliance standards in regards to improving fuel economy, and the emission of pollutants and greenhouse gases.
Dual clutch transmissions make integrates automatic and manual transmission systems, where manually operated clutch is replaced by an electro-mechanic/hydraulic components that activate gears and shift rods that is optimized by an in-built computer or by driver-operated gear shift sticks.
Clunky Operation during Driving Experience Hinders Sales
Dual clutch transmission systems can be found in two types: dry or wet. Wet dual clutch transmission makes use of oil to smoothen the operational gears and shafts. The largest advantage of using dual clutch transmission is that they significantly minimize the weight of the vehicle along with reduced loss of power in comparison to conventional automatic transmission systems by getting rid of the relatively heavy and inefficient torque convertors used in traditional systems.
A large number of automobile manufacturers have struggled with numerous production issues, such as lack of satisfactory driver experience during normal operations. This can be attributed to skewed expectations that drivers have from transmission systems without a clutch, for smooth, and seamless movement during the shifting of gears; On the other hand, dual clutch transmissions provide a drivers with an experience that may feel choppy or clunky when during a rapid gear shifting process. This feeling is noticed more often when the vehicle is operating at low-speeds, or low-throttling activity, hindering growth of demand.
As per a recent study by Future Market Insights on the global dual clutch transmission market, manufacturers are increasingly focusing on improving technology, such as the controller software, while automobile dealership representatives are focusing on better explanations for drivers about the operational properties of such systems, leading to reduced owner disappointment.
System Failures and Higher Costs of Maintenance Hinder Adoption
While majority of dual clutch transmission systems have seldom displayed failures or improper operations, the recent debacle in the Ford Fiesta and Focus ranges in 2016 led to a class action lawsuit in the US, where numerous owners complained of clutch slippage, significant shuddering movements and delayed acceleration arising from an incorrectly designed dual clutch transmission system, which significantly impacted the overall demand.
Moreover, it is important to note that automobile manufacturers seldom offer the option of major repairs of internal parts, which leads to the need to replace entire transmission units at prohibitive costs in incidences of total failure. In addition, the integration of dual clutch transmission setups in a vehicle tend to greatly inflate the price of sale, so buyers are often hesitant when it comes to deciding on buying such vehicles. On the other hand, DCT can enhance fuel efficiency by more than 10 per cent, which positively affects the buyer’s transportation budget that is expected to overcome its limitations.
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