The Ford and General Motors rivalry will forever sit as one of the greatest automotive rivalries of the industry, but sometimes the two get along.
Take the latest ten-speed automatic transmission. The gearbox was birthed from a collaborative effort to engineer the next generation of transmissions. Ford took the lead on the ten-speed auto, while GM handled the nine-speed auto.
The Detroit News recently discussed the first applications of the ten-speed automatic, which are the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and Ford F-150 Raptor. We shouldn’t just say “discussed” because the publication called the transmission a “pioneer.”
“The 10-speed has a greater ratio spread, which enables fuel economy in the upper gears while providing more torque multiplication in the lower gears,” says Ford drivetrain engineer Seth Goslowski.
The benefits of the ten-speed allow for better torque at low speeds, better cruising in high gear.
“I wouldn’t say we did this match-up with the Camaro for (federal fuel-efficiency mandates),” said Al Oppenheiser, lead Camaro engineer. “We did it to match the powerband of the engine and track requirements because of the close-ratio of gear sets. It works perfectly with a 650-horsepower engine.”
In the Raptor, it provides sporty and aggressive shifts while offering a 16 percent gain in fuel efficiency for the big pickup.
However, both Ford and GM don’t see many positives after moving past 10 gears.
“A 12-speed does not have enough performance and fuel efficiency benefit to justify the added weight and complexity of adding more gears,” Goslowski said.
As for GM, the automaker plans to introduce the ten-speed auto into eight additional vehicles throughout the next model year, all of which will be rear-wheel drive in nature. Expect GM trucks and body-on-frame SUVs to be on deck.