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Eaton ‘coast mode’ for automated transmissions boosts fuel efficiency

March 27, 2015
LOUISVILLE, KY. Eaton representatives used their press slot at the Mid-America Trucking Show here to introduce new electronic capabilities to its Fuller Advantage Series and UltraShift PLUS automated transmissions. The upgrade allows for disengagement of a truck’s driveline while on slight downhill grades to drop engine speeds to idle.

LOUISVILLE, KY. Eaton representatives used their press slot at the Mid-America Trucking Show here to introduce new electronic capabilities to its Fuller Advantage Series and UltraShift PLUS automated transmissions. The upgrade allows for disengagement of a truck’s driveline while on slight downhill grades to drop engine speeds to idle.

The new technology improves fuel consumption by up to one percent and ensures safe operation regardless of driving conditions, the company said.

Known internally at Eaton as Neutral Coast Mode, it will be named SmartCoast when paired with a Cummins engine, Fuel Efficient Coast when paired with a Navistar engine, and Neutral Coast when paired with a PACCAR engine.

It is available on all vehicles with a 2013 or newer Cummins ISX1, Navistar N13, or PACCAR MX-13 engine.

“This new option promises to bring fuel efficiency improvements to linehaul fleets typically traveling on roads where hills and grades are present,” said Ryan Trzybinski, product planning manager, Eaton. “The gains will vary depending on the amount and severity of grades encountered.”

Neutral Coast Mode allows the transmission to disengage the driveline by pulling out of gear on downhill grades where little or no engine power is required, when the vehicle is in cruise control and the transmission is in Drive mode. The vehicle’s display will simultaneously flash a gear number that represents the gear that the transmission will select when it is necessary to engage.

The transmission exits Neutral Coast Mode under any of the following conditions:

  • Vehicle brakes are applied
  • Driver presses accelerator pedal
  • Cruise control is canceled
  • A mode other than Drive is selected
  • Cruise high or low set speeds are exceeded
  • Maximum vehicle grade is exceeded; and
  • Request by an adaptive cruise system.

“Neutral Coast Mode features Eaton proprietary logic that works with the engine ECU or another ECU to determine the appropriate time for the transmission to decide when the driveline should be engaged or disengaged,” added Trzybinski.

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