Ford has started production of a new 10-speed automatic gearbox option for rear-wheel drive (RWD) Transit models that offers excellent fuel efficiency,1 outstanding durability and the ability to tow up to 2,800 kg,2 the company today announced.
The new transmission offers the ideal solution for RWD Transit applications where automatics are preferred for their ease-of-use and convenience, such as higher weight conversions including grocery delivery vans, emergency response vehicles and motorhomes, as well as Ford’s popular factory-built 15-seat and 18-seat Transit minibuses.
Developed in-house by Ford engineers and proven in models as diverse as the award-winning Ranger and F150 pick-ups as well as the Mustang high performance sports car, the intelligent transmission is designed to minimise fuel costs for owners and operators using a broader spread of ratios that allows engines to operate at their most efficient.
Available on RWD Transit variants powered by Ford’s latest 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine, the 10-speed automatic transmission underwent intensive performance and durability testing to ensure suitability for heavy-duty use in commercial vehicles that operate at high weights, tow frequently, and have high-intensity work schedules. The transmission is also available as part of the 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 powered Transit’s Ambulance preparation pack.
“Transit drivers will enjoy the smooth power delivery of our class-leading 10-speed automatic gearbox as much as operators will benefit from its durability and efficiency,” said Hans Schep, general manager, Commercial Vehicles, Ford of Europe. “Easier to drive and offering excellent towing ability, the automatic option for Transit heavy-duty users enhances the tough, capable character and excellent driving characteristics that have earned businesses’ respect.”
Now in full production, the new RWD transmission builds on the major package of upgrades launched on Transit during 2019 including more economical and electrified powertrains, increased payload and enhanced connectivity. The 10-speed gearbox is introduced alongside the existing six-speed automatic which remains available for lighter duty front-wheel drive Transit applications.
Engineered for efficiency and durability
The 10-speed design with more gear ratios means the Transit’s 3.5-litre V6 engine can consistently operate more closely to its peak efficiency and deliver a more responsive driving experience. Real-time adaptive shift scheduling allows the transmission to adapt to changing conditions, enabling the optimum gear selection for performance, fuel efficiency or refinement in any driving scenario.
Computer simulations helped optimise the gearbox architecture by balancing the benefits of more ratios against energy lost during more frequent gear changes. A 10-speed gearbox that allows higher torque and power as well as delivering the right gear at the right time proved the optimal choice.
Ford’s Casting-Integrated Direct Action Solenoid (CIDAS) is one of 20 technologies patented during the transmission’s development. The CIDAS increases clutch pressure accuracy and reduces stroke time to deliver faster, smoother gear changes, resulting in more torque being transferred to the road more of the time, to make lighter work of heavy-duty operation. This also means drivers can use less throttle for the same performance result.
A patented low-viscosity transmission fluid reduces internal friction, further enhancing fuel efficiency and reducing component wear as well as eliminating the need for scheduled fluid changes. A variable-vane pump changes delivery according to demand, which decreases parasitic losses and improves vehicle refinement. The high-speed one-way clutch also significantly reduces vibration and harshness during low-speed gear changes – benefitting drivers who spend long shifts in the cab.
The 10-speed automatic transmission is calibrated specifically to suit Transit driving characteristics and applications, and to work alongside Auto Start-Stop technology for even greater fuel efficiency. Acceleration is smooth and progressive at slow speeds and when accelerating from a standstill.
Designed specifically for challenging heavy-duty applications, the transmission has benefitted from more than 6 million kilometres of durability testing during development, including thousands of kilometres of punishing off-road racing.
A wide range of potential users
Equipped with the 10-speed automatic gearbox, Transit offers GVMs ranging from 3,500 kg to 4,600 kg and single- or dual-rear-wheel options, and is available with chassis cab, minibus and van body styles. A generous maximum GTM of 6,100 kg is ideal for operators in construction, utilities or events industries who frequently tow equipment. The 10-speed automatic gearbox allows Transit to tow up to 2,800 kg.
The simple operation of an automatic and capability to handle high vehicle weights also makes the new transmission suitable for heavier conversions such as grocery delivery vehicles, emergency response vehicles, mini-coaches and urban mobility vehicles, as well as larger motorhomes – all applications where drivers can often be less experienced in driving large vehicles and have to deal with congested stop-start traffic conditions.
The gearbox’s efficiency and durability also make an automatic transmission a viable choice for fleet operators assessing total cost of ownership, minimal downtime and vehicle capability.
Customers requiring a converted vehicle can take advantage of Ford’s One Stop Shop range of converted tipper, dropside and box vans that provide operators with a ready-to-go solution for their needs. For more specialist requirements, accredited converters can design and manufacture bespoke vehicles built on Transit with 10-speed automatic transmission through the Qualified Vehicle Modifier programme; a wide range of specialised features are available through the Special Vehicle Options programme to tailor each Transit to the task.
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