Schaeffler E-clutch An Ideal Alternative to Costly AMT For Indian Car Market

The electronic clutch or E-clutch developed by Schaeffler is all set for wide-scale adoption by low price entry level vehicles. The E-clutch removes the traditional three pedals. The drivers' footwell will now have only two pedals: accelerator and brake. The traditional operations of clutch manual gearboxes have been automated and replaced with electronic transmission. However, the driver will still have to manually engage the gears.

Why Semi-Automatic Transmission?

E-clutch is less costly when compared to AMT. The level of automation in E-clutch is limited to the clutch pedal only. This reduces the development and adoption cost significantly. Further, the automated clutch operation aids towards a safer and smooth driving experience when compared to a car equipped with manual transmission.

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Cost Effectiveness

From a buyers point of view, the E-clutch will not only provide an easy and safe driving experience but also ensure that the price sensitive Indian car lover has a cost-effective alternative to the new and comparatively costly AMT. For example, Maruti Suzuki charges an additional amount of Rs. 35000 for AMT-equipped Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 over its manual counterpart.
Dharmesh Arora, CEO of Schaeffler India, said, “Schaeffler has a full range of automation for the Indian market. We anticipate the price of an E-Clutch system to be considerably lower than an AMT application.”

Better Stability

A repetitive concern raised by car drivers and experts alike with AMT is the constant jerks experienced by the driver during upshifts and downshifts alike. Though carmakers have tried to address the issue and to some extent have managed to reduce car’s instability during AMT, the problem still persists.

However, Schaeffler seems to find a way around this with its E-clutch technology, which is also based on a manual transmission like the AMT. As per Dharmesh Arora, “As the driver is closely connected to the vehicle and is controlling the shifting of gears, the drive feeling is similar to a vehicle with manual transmission. When compared to AMTs, the driver defines the shift schedule himself, and pressing the accelerator pedal down is not resulting in a shift at high rpm automatically. This is much more consistent and easy to adopt compared to an AMT.”

No Reduction in Fuel Efficiency

Fuel efficiency is a major factor driving entry-level car sales in India. The E-clutch system does not reduce fuel efficiency. This makes it an ideal feature for entry-level cars.

Automakers around the world are testing Schaeffler’s E-clutch systems on their vehicles. Dharmesh predicts an increase in demand for the technology by 2020 in India. The company is currently working with a two-pedal system for the Indian market focussed primarily on clutch automation with the driver controlling the gear shift.

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E-clutch or the half AMT will be cheaper. The Premium cars have been adopting AMT at lightning speed. However the E- clutch with its low adoption cost is surely going to be a major feature of the entry-level mass market cars. Moreover, the E-clutch can replace any manual transmission system on any car irrespective of engine variant. With the central government implementing the BNVSAP (Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Program) safety standards sooner than later, it creates a good market space for the electronic clutch management system by Schaeffler. As most of the cars in the lower price cap do not comply to the soon to be introduced BNVSAP, E- clutch promises a new efficient future mobility.