Allows the driver to engage first gear without using the clutch.
The forthcoming Tata Kite hatchback could get an e-clutch system, says a report on Team BHP. The e-clutch system is comparatively cheaper than an AMT (automated manual transmission), which itself is about 40 percent the cost of a conventional automatic transmission, but will offer 10 percent better fuel economy than a manual. An AMT offers very similar fuel efficiency compared to a manual gearbox.
The e-clutch system only controls the clutch operation during stop and go traffic situations, and the driver continues to be in control of the gearshifts. The driver can access the first gear without using the clutch, while a more advanced version, can match the engine speed with the corresponding gear enabling smoother gear changes.
Also, when the driver is no longer accelerating, the system enables a coasting option for increased efficiency.
German component maker, Bosch, is testing its e-clutch system in India on a Honda Brio. However, the Bosch-developed system will reportedly be production ready only in 2016.
Tata Motors though plans on launching the Kite in 2015, most likely during the second half of the year. A 1.2-liter petrol engine and a 1.05-liter diesel engine would be assigned powertrain duty, and the car would roll out of the underutilized Nano plant in Sanand, Gujarat.
Competitors: Hyundai i10, Honda Brio, Maruti Celerio, Chevrolet Beat, Ford Figo
Expected price: INR 3.5-4.5 lakhs, ex-showroom
Launch date: H2 2015
[Source - Team BHP]