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Ford's Modular Hybrid Transmission

by Green Car Journal EditorsDecember 23, 2019
Lots of new technologies are being used by automakers to enhance the power and efficiency of their hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Innovations abound, like the compact and lightweight modular hybrid transmission now being used in Ford and Lincoln SUVs.

The 2020 Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid, 2020 Ford Interceptor Utility Hybrid, and 2020 Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring will be the first Ford products to feature an efficient Modular Hybrid Transmission (MHT). Developed by Ford supplier Schaeffler, it was created by essentially inserting an electric motor and disconnect clutch between the engine and torque converter on Ford's 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission.

The addition of the motor unit adds just 6.3 inches to the transmission’s overall length, which is accommodated by shortening the driveshaft on rear- and four-wheel-drive vehicles. It uses the same lug spacing as the non-hybrid transmission. The MHT is built alongside the regular 10-speed automatic since it shares about 90 percent of its components.

Many hybrids do not use a torque converter since the torque of an electric motor is sufficient to get the vehicle moving and help smooth shifts. Ford kept the torque converter mainly to maintain the excellent towing, hauling, and maximum-performance capabilities found in its non-hybrid siblings. The MHT's electric motor provides low-speed torque, an extra boost of power, and regenerative braking with improved fuel economy.

The Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid uses a 44 horsepower electric motor with a  3.3-liter naturally-aspirated  V-6. The electric motor can provide 221 lb-ft of additional torque. The MHT system's 1.5 kilowatt-hour liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery is about 33 percent smaller than the first generation battery that debuted in the 2005 Escape hybrid. It is packaged beneath the Explorer's second-row seats so it doesn't compromise cargo space.