How do paddle shifters work?
Do you want to know more about paddle shifters? How do paddle shifters work? Essentially, they are paddles that let you shift sequentially through the gears. Shifting up is typically done via the right paddle, and down via the left paddle. No clutch is required in these types of vehicles. Want to learn more? We can fill you in on all the details including some history and more.
Where do paddle shifters come from?
Though the history of paddle shifters dates back 1912, they weren’t properly being explored until racing in the 1970s, and later with more success in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.
By 1994, paddle shifters were pretty much the only game in town when it comes to Formula One.
Advantages of paddle shifters
There are several advantages to paddle shifters. When it comes to racing, they were introduced to automate the clutch and make shifting gears physically quicker and simpler. However, it also means that any vehicle with paddle shifters is also capable of shifting itself.
Essentially, paddle shift vehicles are both manuals and automatics. They have the hardware to shift themselves, they just need the software, and nearly all passenger vehicles equipped with paddle shifters have the software simply for greater ease of use.
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Another advantage is that it keeps the driver’s hands on the wheel. In racing, this is vital as the forces at the wheel, especially in a turn, can be extreme. In most passenger cars, this doesn’t matter, unless you are talking about something like a Lamborghini supercar such as the Aventador SVJ.
What transmissions work with paddle shifters?
Almost any transmission can be made to work with paddle shifters. They are certainly used on regular automatic transmissions with planetary gears, but they are also used with automated manual transmissions and dual clutch transmissions.
Though they are not found on CVT or continuously variable transmissions, they could be. Some CVTs have individual speeds, and though these are really just simulated, there’s no reason why one couldn’t be fitted with paddles.
A manufacturer building a system like this is unlikely. Sporty cars don’t typically use CVTs, and at no point will a supercar utilize a CVT, at least in the foreseeable future. CVTs are great at giving you efficiency, but not great at giving your performance.