Car News

Hyundai's New System Makes Hybrid Gearshifts Quicker, Smoother, More Efficient

Hyundai has launched a new transmission tech for its hybrid cars. It's designed to make shifts quicker and smoother while improving fuel economy and durability.

That's a lot of superlatives for one new bit of tech, but this is an interesting new idea. Called Active Shift Control, it uses the hybrid motor as sort of a powered synchro.

Hyundai is one of a few automakers who use a conventional automatic transmission (minus the torque converter) in its hybrid drivelines. Hyundai says that dropping the torque converter makes the vehicle more fuel-efficient, but that it slows downshift times in the name of smoothness. This system takes advantage of that lack of a converter by adding some software to the hybrid control unit. Using a sensor that monitors the transmission speed, it tells the electric motor to match the rotation speeds of the engine and transmission.

Like a perfectly rev-matched shift in a manual gearbox, that makes shifts smoother. It makes them quicker, too: 30 percent quicker taking shifts down to as low as 350 ms.

Hyundai says that the quicker shifts also improve acceleration and fuel economy. Interestingly, like how a perfectly matched manual transmission shift prolongs the life of your synchros, Hyundai says that this ASC system will improve gearbox durability by minimizing friction during shifts.

The Active Shift Control system will launch on the upcoming Sonata Hybrid, and the automaker says it'll eventually move to other Hyundai and Kia hybrids.