Ford debuts new transmission system to power next-gen hybrids
Over the next few years, the automaker plans hybrid versions of its F-150 pickup, Bronco SUV and Explorer crossover, among other vehicles. To deliver whom engineers developed a new transmission system, called "modular hybrid technology," that debuts this year on the 2020 Explorer.
The system featuring an electric motor, clutch and torque converter, not only improves fuel economy on Ford's larger vehicles, but provides more power. On the upcoming Explorer hybrid the electric motor will put out 44 hp. When coupled with the vehicle's 3.3-liter V-6 engine it will generate a total system output of 318 hp.
The modular hybrid technology was designed to fit with rear-wheel-drive vehicles that contain Ford's 10-speed transmission. The fourth-generation lithium ion battery that powers the hybrids is roughly 33 percent smaller than the first generation that debuted on Ford's 2005 Escape hybrid, and is packaged underneath the Explorer's second-row seats to prevent it from taking up cargo space.
Smaller, front-wheel-drive vehicles, such as the 2020 Escape hybrid and plug-in hybrid, will feature an electronic continuously variable transmission that can achieve a top speed of 85 mph on battery power. It will come in four modes, including an "EV charge" mode that directs the powertrain to charge the battery pack while the vehicle is being driven so that electric only range can be used later.