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Detroit unveils new automated manual transmission

NAPA VALLEY, Calif. -- Daimler has taken the wraps off its much-anticipated automated manual transmission.


The new DT12 from Detroit.
The new DT12 from Detroit.

NAPA VALLEY, Calif. — Daimler has taken the wraps off its much-anticipated automated manual transmission.

The Detroit DT12 is a two-pedal automated transmission that’s highly efficient and easy to operate.

“The DT12 transmission complements the Detroit engines and axles with features that positively impact efficiency and performance,” said Brad Williamson, manager, engine and component marketing for Daimler Trucks North America. “The Detroit brand has long been synonymous with power and economy, and the DT12 continues our legacy of benefitting our customers’ bottom lines.”

The new transmission will be offered in the Freightliner Cascadia and is ideal for linehaul applications. Detroit officials demonstrated its lightweight design and smooth shifting characteristics during a media ride-and-drive here this week.

The transmission excels in slow speed maneuvering situations, can hold its position on a grade thanks to its hill start aid and saves fuel by disengaging the clutch on downhill stretches.

That feature, dubbed eCoast, was active for 650 miles on a recent cross-country trip from San Diego, Cal. to Gastonia, N.C., Daimler officials claim. When active, eCoast allows the vehicle to travel downhill with the engine running at idle speed. It’s completely transparent to the driver and the engine seamlessly slips back into gear when the throttle is reapplied.

The DT12 features an aluminum housing and single countershaft to save weight.

It’s available in a 12-speed direct- or overdrive configuration.

The transmission completes Detroit’s fully integrated powertrain package.

“The ability for the transmission and engine to share information fully leverages our integrated powertrain, providing a significant advantage to the driver,” said Williamson.

Unlike other automated manual transmissions, the shifter is mounted to the steering wheel in the form of a control stalk, which also controls the engine brake.

The transmission can be run in Performance or Economy mode, depending on the requirements of the driver. A kick-down feature provides an extra burst of acceleration when required.

The DT12 is backed by a five-year/750,000-mile warranty and the clutch carries a two-year/200,000-mile warranty. Detroit has also expanded its Virtual Technician program to cover the transmission. When a fault code is generated, Detroit’s Customer Support Center is notified and the driver will be advised on the appropriate course of action.

Truck News executive editor James Menzies had the opportunity to drive a Cascadia Evolution with the DT12 transmission. Look for a full report in the September issues of Truck News and Truck West.

In the meantime, you can watch Williamson describe the new transmission in this episode of TMTV On the Road.


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2 Comments » for Detroit unveils new automated manual transmission
  1. Tony says:

    Congratulations to a very Commendable Acheivement How did you ever accomplish this record. You are a true insperation to the entire intire industry. Todays trucking students could learn a terrific amount from your experience. Individuals like yourself need to be speaking at trucking schools all over north America.

  2. Tony says:

    This transmission looks great but the current video does not show a professional driver behind the wheel driving with a load OTR in severe weather conditions. It has to be proven in severe winter conditions when drivers get caught driving under these conditions. show some real videos under these conditions.

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