Scoop! Tata Kite might come with an e-clutch

The penetration levels for automatic transmissions in the Indian car market are relatively low. However, the popularity of AMT transmissions has shown that buyers though interested, have kept away from auto-boxes primarily because of the costs involved. Tata introduced the Zest XMA as the most affordable diesel automatic car in India and a Team-BHP source now says that the upcoming Tata Kite could feature not an AMT, but an e-clutch system!

An e-clutch takes transmission cost effectiveness further, as it only automates the clutch operation in stop and go traffic conditions, while leaving gearshifts to the driver. Essentially, the system enables the use of 1st gear without the clutch. The system is likely to be cheaper than even an AMT transmission. Auto component giant Bosch developed this set-up in 2013. The e-clutch also enables the coasting function, in which the clutch automatically decouples the engine from the transmission if the driver is no longer accelerating. The clutch pedal transmits an electric signal to an actuator, which decouples the clutch.

Early tests reportedly resulted in fuel savings of around 10%. The system can also help make gear-shifts smoother via a special sensor that detects the start of a gear shift and adjusts engine speed. Tata Motors plans to launch two new models annually from its passenger vehicle division. The Bolt was launched earlier this year (Review: Petrol / Diesel), while the Kite is slated for a launch in the second half of 2015. Though the addition of an e-clutch has not been officially confirmed, the technology could prove to be a USP for the small car.

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