Sometimes, all it takes to make a transmission better is a little bit of programming. That's the case with Hyundai's latest transmission tech, which aims to not only improve shift times, but also the general driving experience.
Hyundai this week unveiled its Active Shift Control technology. By the sounds of it, ASC is largely based on an update to the shift control logic in the hybrid system's control unit. It monitors the transmission 500 times per second and tells the electric motor in the hybrid powertrain when to align the engine's and transmission's rotational speeds.
According to Hyundai, the benefits are twofold. Not only does it drop shift times from 500 milliseconds to 350 ms (a 30% improvement), it allegedly makes the shifts smoother, too. Minimizing friction during shifting can improve the transmission's durability, while the shift-speed adjustment can benefit both fuel economy and performance.
Most hybrid transmissions do away with the automatic transmission's standard torque converter because it loses energy while transmitting rotational energy from the engine to the transmission. Since efficiency is the name of the game, hybrids ditch the torque converter in favor of electric motors, but those motors take more time to get everything aligned correctly, in part to keep things smooth. Hyundai's ASC tech appears to speed that process up without making things expressly jarring for the folks inside.
We don't have to wait too long to take advantage of Active Shift Control. Hyundai said in its release that the technology will debut in the wildly styled 2020 Sonata Hybrid. Following that car, it'll make appearances in various new hybrids from both Hyundai and its kissin' cousin, Kia.