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FORD PATENTS TRIPLE CLUTCH AWD SYSTEM, BUT FOR WHAT?

What’s It For?

2021 SEMA Show 2022 Ford Maverick Tucci Hot Rods Concept
Image copyright Manoli Katakis, Muscle Cars & Trucks.

It seems that two clutches are simply not enough, as Ford Motor Company has patented a triple clutch all-wheel drive system that can alter the torque sent between the left and right wheels. Will it be for a far-out variant of the S650 Ford Mustang? An SUV like the Ford Bronco? a truck like the Ford F-150? A sportier Ford Maverick? Or something… else? To be clear, this isn’t a triple-clutch transmission patent, but could deliver superior control to all four wheels.

Ford Triple Clutch Patent: Details

The patent was filed with the USPTO as it has a number of technological advancements that differentiate itself from a regular all-wheel drive system.  Three clutches control the movement of power throughout the chassis, the first of which operates like a standard clutch in between the engine and the transmission, while the other two are located on each axle and can split the power between the left and the right wheels.

The system is similar to torque vectoring but features a more active mechanical connection rather than just braking the inner wheel while turning.  Similar to the way some limited-slip differentials work, but instead of relying on mechanical grip and torque to distribute the power it will be controlled electronically.

Performance-oriented vehicles will likely be the recipient of the technology, but there is also a use for this type of thing in SUVs as well. As speculated by CarBuzz, the most likely candidate to receive the triple clutch system will be the S650 Ford Mustang, which is expected to eventually offer hybrid, and BEV variants, as well as AWD. Just not out of the gate.

However, if you ask us, it’s more likely for something like a Ford Maverick ST, or an upgraded Ford Bronco Sport.

2021 SEMA Show Baja Forged Ford Bronco Sport All Female Build
Image copyright Manoli Katakis, Muscle Cars & Trucks.

Consider that the Ford Bronco Sport Badlands uses a GKN-supplied Twinster twin-clutch AWD system. This incorporates bevel gear driving half shafts, which are fitted with multi-plate clutches that engage drive to each rear wheel. In turn, 50 percent of engine torque can be sent to the rear, which can then be applied to either rear wheel for torque vectoring. The Ford Focus RS used a similar setup, but of course was tuned differently. Adding a third clutch to this design would be the logical next step. The Ford Maverick, Ford Bronco Sport, and Ford Escape all share a common architecture, and are built under the same roof at the Hermosillo Assembly plant in Mexico.

In addition to improving handling, the system could also be used as a type of traction control device to ward off wayward handling (which Mustangs can be known for, but that’s likely more on the onus of the person in the driver’s seat).

Ford has a habit of patenting a lot of things that never actually make it into production, so only time will tell if we actually get to see this triple clutch system implemented in a real-life vehicle.

Ford Bronco Sport Rigid
Photo by Rigid via Facebook

Written by Alex

Alex is a freelance automotive journalist hailing from the Toronto area. He considers Michigan to be a warm place.

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