At the Auto Expo next month, Maruti-Suzuki will launch yet another small car called the Celerio, which is based on the A-Wind Concept that was first shown to the world at the 2013 Thailand Motor Show. Among other features, what the Celerio will introduce to the Indian market is a technology called two-pedal (without the clutch pedal) Auto Gear Shift, which the company has christened as EZ Drive, pronounced as ‘easy drive’.
Now, the EZ Drive is essentially the automated manual transmission technology—which is derived from Formula 1. It combines comfort of use and a reduction in fuel consumption. Its production costs are also lower compared to traditional automatic transmissions.
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In fact, according to the Italian automotive parts manufacturer Magneti Marelli, automated manual transmission comprises of an electronic control unit and a hydraulic system (robotic arm) that supervise the use of the clutch and gear shifting, allowing the driver to change gear without using the clutch, either sequentially or fully automatically. It operates on the manual transmission of a car in the same way as the driver would: it opens and closes the clutch, engages and disengages the gears and, when required, it controls the choice of transmission. These three control movements are ensured by three specific hydraulic actuators, controlled by hydraulic electro-valves. Magneti Marelli also adds that all the components in the hydraulic unit are gathered together in a single kit. It is delivered to the car manufacturer sealed and ready to be installed in the gearbox. Once assembled in the gearbox, the hydraulic kit mechanically interfaces with the gear drive shaft.
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How the EZ Drive works
The gear-lever unit, placed between the two front seats, looks exactly like a traditional automatic transmission unit. Towards the right there are three slots—‘N’ for neutral, ‘D’ for drive and ‘R’ for reverse. Towards the left there is one slot marked ‘M’, for manual. In the manual mode, there are options of ‘+’ to upshift gears and ‘-’ to downshift gears.
Before firing the engine, you have to ensure the gear lever is in the ‘N’ mode and the brake pedal is pressed. If it is not in the ‘N’ mode and the brake pedal is not pressed, the car will not start. This is to ensure safety. Once the engine fires, put the gear lever in the ‘D’ mode and