Power Shifting and Power Shift Transmissions


Jan 10th, 2019

Power Shifting and Power Shift Transmissions

What is Power Shifting?

Power shifting is used for shifting in manual vehicles. It reduces the time in which the driving wheel is not fully powered. In powershifting, the driver’s feet do not leave the accelerator. While at high speeds, most drivers tend to powershift to cut shifting time and maintain power band but it has a great effect because it puts a lot of load on the synchronizer rings in your transmission. To avoid this, high-end auto manufacturers have started producing cars with power shifting transmission.

A power shift transmission is an auto-manual transmission. It is a six-speed automatic dual-clutch transmission. It is an increasing favorite when the topic of dual clutch transmissions is discussed. Most high-end auto manufacturers are slowly ditching the regular manual transmissions in their vehicles and opting for a more high-end performance transmission to improve the driving experience.

In 2020, it is estimated that the number of cars fitted with power shift transmission will increase across America and Europe because this transmission improves efficiency and smooth shifting when compared to other types of automatic transmissions. Car manufacturers like Volvo are already adopting the new power shift transmission.

A power shift transmission consists of wet clutch packs. The individual clutch pack is made up of discs which are placed together using a hydraulic powered piston. They also contain springs which set the piston free when the pressure of the hydraulic is turned off. The power shifting transmission changes to the next gear automatically, anticipating the next shift, making gear changes quickly and delivering smooth power. It is built to be extremely low maintenance, delivering up to 10000 miles and is durable for up to 10 years. Powershift transmission makes use of synchronizers which are the friction devices that match the input speed and the selected gear while changing.

The power shift has a very efficient uninterrupted torque from the dual clutch. The torque consists of twin manual transmissions in parallel. One controls gear 1, 3 and 5, while the other one controls the gears 2, 4 and 6. Basically, it works like normal automatic transmission without a clutch pedal and can also work like manual transmission using paddle shifters on the steering wheel. Power shift transmission is built to give drivers the best of both worlds while driving.

The powershift is said to be more efficient because it is very durable and it does not have a lot of weight. It does not need a lot of planetary gears to function optimally. It helps to reduce fuel while driving.

A power shift transmission provides a total of six speeds, which are the forward gears and the reverse gears. The assemblies at the planetary area are joined by two linkages promoting the moving of power across the various planetary sections. The power shift transmission makes use of two brakes and three clutches which in turn, gives out 6-speed changes.

Advantages of Power Shift Transmission

The major advantages of a PowerShift transmission are mostly fuel economy, rate of shift and the way it operates. Most vehicles with power shift transmission are much more efficient in fuel consumption, offering a better and easier driving experience than regular automatic vehicles. Most manufacturers in these days prefer using them instead of regular gearboxes. Manufacturers like Porsche, BMW, and Ford. And most customers, especially the Elites are willing to spend such incredible amounts for money for a seamless driving experience.

Another major advantage is that they allow automatic transmission to function without the presence of a torque converter. They have better engine performance which improves driving dynamics and helps to get rid of power loss in the engine. They are slowly becoming popular in the United States because drivers are still used to automatic transmission.

The powershift transmission is very interesting to use and very engaging. It offers good performance and excellent overall driving dynamics.

Powershift transmission doesn't make use of a clutch pedal. Although there are no clutch pedals, the driver can control the vehicle by using paddle shifters. They are very easy to maneuver in traffic, and when you need to shift to the manual transmission, paddle shifters provide quick access to the power band.

Disadvantages of Power Shift Transmission

They are very expensive to buy and to maintain. Any vehicle with the option of powershift transmission is usually expensive more expensive than a car with manual transmission.

Many drivers aren’t comfortable with the nature of the driving experience of power shift transmission vehicles because they are mostly used to driving regular automatic transmission.

Some manufacturers have hesitated in adopting powershift transmission because it will increase the cost in the production of these vehicles, and therefore increase the selling price.

There also seems to be aturbo lag when a PowerShift transmission is put into turbo, and  vehicles can jerk a bit while in lower gears. This why power shift transmission are mainly used by high-performance vehicles.

Difference Between Power Shift Transmission vs Regular Automatic Transmission

There is a huge difference in performance because the power shift transmission has two metallic clutches, while automatic transmission uses liquid inside the torque converter as a medium to transmit power. The automatic transmission has lower paddle shift times compared to power shift transmission.

Power shift transmissions handle high-performance shifting well, and they respond very quickly, unlike regular automatic transmissions. They only have two pedals, and if you prefer, you can leave the car in drive the entire time and let it shift itself.

Most automatic transmissions have a lot of lag - when the driver tends to manually shift the transmissions don't downshift very well. Automatic transmissions will also creep in when you remove your foot from the brake in drive. They can also overheat and fail when stretched to the limits because all energy has to be transferred through the torque converter.


Car manufacturers today are slowly tending towards powershift transmissions for high-end vehicles. The powershift transmission offers the very best of both automatic and manual driving experiences. Gears can be changed variably without stopping the flow of power from the engine. The excellent fuel efficiency and ability to maneuver in various types of terrain make it worth while investing those extra dollars to purchase cars with power shift transmissions.

If you enjoyed this blog you might want to check out other posts like What is a mechatronic unit? or What is a CVT transmission?