The new 'eClutch' system may finally deliver the best of both worlds, combining the versatility of a manual with the convenience of an automatic without the compromises and complexity of DSG and solenoid transmissions.
Bosch claims that the system's hybrid compatibility would make electric-assisted powertrains more appealing for sports-car manufacturers, while reducing the cost of offering entry-level hybrid models.
The technology specialist says the eClutch is “significantly” cheaper to produce than an automatic, and could even reverse the trend of some modern automatics being the most fuel-efficient choice.
And if you enjoy the challenge of 'hypermiling', the eClutch has that sorted too, disengaging the driveline when the driver isn’t using the throttle.
But, unlike current ‘coasting’ systems linked to automatics, the eClutch system can combine with a switched-off engine during coasting to improve fuel consumption by around 10 percent.
In stop-start city driving, the eClutch will activate automatically, allowing the driver to select first gear and then operate the brake and throttle pedals only.
The clutch pedal itself will still be present, but sends an electronic signal to the eClutch, replacing the long-standing cable and hydraulic systems.
For those with a fear of manual gearboxes and clutch pedals, fear not: the system also promises to make jerky gear changes and engine-stalling a thing of the past.