Dual Clutch Transmission or also referred as the twin-clutch transmission is the kind of automated transmission which utilised two clutches for both odd and even gears. If you are not aware of this transmission already and want to know more on DCT, then read our “DCT VS CVT” article below for a better understanding.
So as you know now, Multi-Clutch transmissions deliver ultra quick gear shifts and provide better performance. Then let’s talk more about why the auto manufacturers are refraining from this transmission and as a whole going back to the old school torque converter automatics?
First of all, you need to know that DCTs provide a platform suited to performance vehicles. DCT gives crispy shifts at all speeds, but there is no clutch pad. This means either you can shift manually by paddle shifters or its all done by the onboard computer automatically. So despite the fact that this transmission is very slick, very precise and sporty but all this comes at a cost and that it’s not so smooth like the conventional CVT or automatic.
Then there comes another problem which is that DCTs are mainly in their infant stages and they are hard and expensive to make and implement in cars so not a feasible option for non-performance vehicles. But when we look at manuals or automatics, they have been developed and improved for so long that the manufacturing cost has been already shrunk to zero and they are widely available and a better pick for most cars out there. But you may ask that performance vehicle might still use them in the future right? Hate to burst the bubble, but no. Recently the head of BMW M division has admitted that BMW will altogether get rid of manual and twin-clutch transmission as a whole in less than ten years in favour of more sporty automatic transmissions.
We have seen DCT transmission in light car mainly by Honda, Mini, and Ford where these companies put this transmission in the range of cars from around 2012. Honda Vezel, Honda Grace, Ford Focus, Mini Cooper all of these cars have this transmission however it wasn’t a smooth road for any of these companies. Ford faces a huge lawsuit from the buyers claiming that their cars were shuttering, slipping, jerking or even having hesitation changing a gear and worst of all premature internal damage. Chrysler also didn’t manage to get away, and the owners weren’t particularly happy about this situation at all. Honda had to recall Vezel and Fit vehicles equipped with dual clutch transmission because the transmission developed a fault.
Now let’s get back to the real question that whether DCT is going to die soon or is there any potential left to be explored. Well, the answer is both yes and no. While there is some potential left to be explored in these transmissions but DCT transmission isn’t exactly going anywhere just about now. According to the data by PricewaterhouseCoopers DCT’s had pretty significant growth in the market from 2012 to 2017. At the start of 2012, the transmission share in cars worldwide was as follows:
- Manuals 49.4%
- Automatics 35.9%
- CVTs 10.1%
- DCT 3.4%
But as of 2017 DCT’s enjoyed a huge percentage jump along with CVT which had a minor. Both manual and automatics have seen a slight decline, so the new share is as follows:
- Manuals 46.2%
- Automatics 31.9%
- CVTs 11.5%
- DCT 8.5%
While both DCT and CVT are gaining market share, they still have a long way to go. As of now, manuals and conventional torque converter automatics are the way to go. Especially automatics; development companies have worked so much on this transmission that they have enough performance, well-built internals with up to 10 speeds along with silky smooth performance for day to day use, which is well suited for the driver who doesn’t even care about extreme performance and stuff. This is the kind of transmission which solves everything at a very low cost for manufacturers, and we are about to see them in vehicles in large quantities in the future.
What do you think? Do you prefer DCT, CVT, automatic or manual? Drop a comment below.