cartechboy writes: Steve Jobs simply removed features he thought users didn't need in the name of efficiency. But those removed features better be non-essential right? Can a car work with no transmission? Turns out, the answer is yes—if it's a new kind of hybrid. Honda's 2014 Accord Hybrid has no conventional automatic transmission, no automated dual-clutch system, and no belt-and-pulley continuously variable transmission either. There's also no torque converter or even a drive clutch to slip the engine from a standing start. Okay, so how does the thing drive? Four gearsets sit between the electric and gas power sources and the front wheels, but all those drive ratios are fixed. Add in some sophisticated controls and a small clutch pack to engage the engine and the powertrain provides three propulsion modes: electric, gas, and and blended — all without shifting any gears. The main reason for all the effort? Efficiency. Honda claims its direct-driver has 46 to 80 percent less friction than a conventional automatic, depending on the drive mode. As for the name – "Two-motor Sport Hybrid Intelligent Multi Mode Drive/Plug-in" – well, that's one thing we don't think Steve Jobs would have approved of.
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