Long a key player in developing transmissions for racing applications, British gearbox specialist Xtrac has just unveiled a new and far more cost-effective alternative to conventional dual-clutch transmissions that it claims has the potential for wide-ranging commercial applications. Dubbed IGS -- for Instantaneous Gearchange System -- the Xtrac design delivers the same constant power delivery benefit as the modern "automated manual" transmissions currently used by manufacturers like Ferrari and Porsche but does so using a far less-complex internal mechanism.
Presented at the recent International CTI Symposium and Exhibition in Berlin, the IGS system relies on a unique ratchet-and-pawl arrangement that links each gear hub and main shaft in a way that permits two different cogs to be simultaneously engaged but allows only one to send driving force to the wheels at any given moment. In addition to costing significantly less to produce, Xtrac technical director Adrian Moore noted that the IGS solution also helps reduce the mass of the gearbox, a factor that will promote further gains in efficiency and correspondingly lower CO2 emissions.
Having already completed two years of secret testing in conjunction with a number of professional motorsport efforts, Xtrac is now ready to move towards developing a full production version of its patented IGS package and is currently involved in feasibility studies with several automakers. Moore indicated that while IGS can be adapted for use in everything from motorcycles and passenger cars to light commercial vehicles, it offers the greatest potential benefit for electric vehicles. There, it would facilitate the implementation of more efficient dual-speed transmissions in place of the single-speed transfer gear found in virtually all of today's EVs.