Daimler Trucks North America used the Mid-America show to launch the Detroit transmission, thus completing its integrated powertrain offering. It’s the only OEM that can offer a complete package, including Detroit axles and heavy-duty engines.
Part of a long-established global plan, development of these powertrain products has been an international effort, with resources drawn from all of Daimler’s capabilities around the world. The no-clutch-pedal transmission has been tested and proven in series production for European markets since 2005.
It’s a 12-speed, direct- or overdrive automated transmission combining a traditional clutch-actuated manual gearbox with computer-controlled shift and clutch actuators, which automatically select the right shift pattern for fuel economy and engine power. It’s claimed to provide the operational ease of an automatic with the efficiency of a manual transmission
DTNA says the direct-drive version will be the best technical solution to maximize fuel efficiency for line-haul/long-haul operations while providing improved slow-speed maneuvering capabilities. Features include “active driveline protection,” which anticipates torque windup; and torque limiting.
It will skip-shift, of course, enabling drivers to run through lower gears faster to achieve cruising speed sooner. Its EcoRoll feature helps the vehicle coast more efficiently, the company says. The transmission’s use of aluminum is said to result in weight savings of up to 300 lb vs. cast-iron designs.
Driver-friendly features include helical gears that reduce noise; a control module that communicates with the entire powertrain; and a kick-down feature that improves acceleration.
Additional features of the Detroit transmission include: Hill-Start Aid option to prevent roll-back after standing still on a hill; enhanced cruise control and improved dash display; and driver-selectable shift modes for performance or economy.