Friday, January 27, 2023
News Ford Patents Electronic Clutch System for Clutchless Manual Shifting

Ford Patents Electronic Clutch System for Clutchless Manual Shifting

Is Ford looking to give driving enthusiasts their cake and allow people who don't know how to drive manual to eat it?


  • It could become a feature on the next-generation Mustang and Bronco.

  • A sensor in the shift mechanism would activate the clutch once the shifter begins to move.

  • The clutch pedal would still be there however it wouldn’t be connected to anything.


Ford is working on an electronic clutch system that would enable drivers to “shift” without needing to press on the physical clutch pedal to get the transmission to work. The basic idea would be to do without the physical connection between the left-most pedal, slave-cylinder, throwout bearing, and so on and replace that connection with a sensor.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 | Photo: Olivier Delorme

According to the story published by Muscle Cars & Trucks, this manual transmission will be identical to the one found in the Ford Mustang or Bronco with only two major differences. The first is that, although present, the clutch pedal would not be connected to anything other than sensors and actuators.

The other major difference is that the shifter itself would have a built-in sensor that, based on the pressure applied by the driver, would disengage the clutch while the shifter moves. There would be a way to defeat the sensor and use the pedal for a hard launch or for real drivers to actually shift.

There are many manual-transmission-equipped vehicles for sale today that have a rev-matching feature and anti-stalling capabilities. Thankfully, these functions can be deactivated, and we suppose if Ford’s new clutchless-clutching manual transmission is the only we get to keep the do-it-yourself transmission, then so be it.

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Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai

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