A test climb by Volvo comparing the new dual clutch I-shift with the current single clutch design aims to demonstrate the improved performance of the new technology. This new gearbox is a world first in a heavy duty truck, the idea is already used in some car transmissions and is sold here in Australia in the Fuso Canter range, with some success.
The video below, specifically illustrates exactly how the new system works:
Volvo describe the dual clutch system as, two gearboxes linked together, when one gearbox is active, the next gear is preselected in the other gearbox. The new gearbox is 120 mm longer than a normal I-Shift unit. There is a power interruption when the transmission goes from low range into high, from sixth to seventh gear.
This new development from Volvo marks a divergence in the strategies of the big transmission manufacturers from Europe. Volvo are heading down the dual clutch route, while ZF, who supply DAF, Iveco and MAN, will offer optional engagement options, clutch, torque converter or hybrid connection. Meanwhile, Scania is keeping its cards close to its chest in the run up to a rumoured new cab launch and Mercedes Benz have, historically, let others take the lead with new technology transmissions.
There is no word yet on when, or if, this new dual clutch box might appear in the Australian Volvo product. We can be pretty certain trials have taken place here with the new transmission, more information may be available later. So far, Volvo have announced it will be introduced in the third quarter of 2014 in Europe.