New cars with mechanical handbrake and transmission are becoming less and less, and soon manufacturers will stop offering them even in the basic equipment. Only a dozen years ago, manual transmissions were entry-level even in larger and more expensive cars. Due to the introduction of electric cars and changing customer priorities, they are slowly but surely losing the battle to automatic transmissions.
The automotive industry has undergone tremendous technological advancements in recent years. Naturally aspirated engines are pretty much gone, huh
small turbocharged units have now become standard
even for small and cheap cars. The upcoming purely electric era is accompanied by different levels of electrification, from a range of hybrids (mild hybrids, classic hybrids, plug-in) to pure battery vehicles.
Such cars are not designed with a manual gearbox. Until recently, for example
we couldn’t imagine having only two pedals in a car
Europeans mocked Americans, fans of automatic transmissions, for being too lazy to change gears.
The absence of a third clutch pedal today does not surprise anyone. Due to increasing congestion in cities, manual gear changes and frequent clutch presses are becoming more and more unpleasant for drivers. Behind the development of automatic transmissions is in some way the struggle to reduce CO2 emissions. Automatic gear shifting logically allows better control of gear shifting, and the new type of automatic transmission comes with a greater number of gears, which is reflected in lower consumption and correspondingly lower harmful emissions.
Also, with electric cars and hybrids (light hybrids are an exception), you have no options other than automatic.
The familiar mechanical parking brake, located between the driver’s seat and the seat of the passenger next to him, is also gradually becoming a thing of the past. The brands that currently offer the highest percentage of models with a handbrake are Suzuki (71% – five out of seven models), Abarth (66% – two out of three models), Dacia (50% – two out of four models), Fiat (45% – five out of 11 models) and Ssangyong (40% – two out of five models). The once universal parking brake is now mostly reserved for smaller and cheaper petrol cars. However, the reality is that
the parking brake will disappear from mainstream cars
by the end of this decade.
The electronic handbrake offers the driver greater comfort with automatic control and Hill Hold features that make it easier to start on a slope, while a conventional handbrake is cheaper to replace. An electronic parking brake can be up to three times more expensive to repair than a manual brake. A regular handbrake costs around €230 versus €680.
The parking brake uses components specified for the brake system. Whether it is a disc or a drum, the principle is to block one or more wheels on the same axle to prevent the rolling motion and therefore the car from moving. A simple cable allows the device to be activated. In the case of disc brakes, the pads press against the discs, preventing them from spinning, and with drum brakes, the pads (or shoes) press against the drum, preventing them from spinning as well. Present mainly on the rear wheels, the handbrake can be installed on the front wheels. It is basically operated by actuating a lever placed between the front seats of the car.
The Electric Parking Brake (EPB) also reduces fuel consumption thanks to the lower weight of the braking system. The system is activated with a simple button.