American Axle & Manufacturing (AAM) will supply its EcoTrac Disconnecting All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) for Chrysler’s new 2021 Pacifica minivan. AAM’s system seamlessly provides AWD safety and performance only when the vehicle senses it is needed, including during cold temperatures, windshield wiper use, front-wheel slip, heavy accelerations, electronic stability control activation, abrupt steering and rough road conditions. AAM’s Pacifica’s power transfer unit (PTU), rear drive module (RDM) and the drive train control module (DTCM) are the heart of its AWD system and use vehicle sensor data to constantly evaluate traction and assist the driver through difficult weather and challenging road conditions.
The PTU splits torque from the nine-speed automatic transmission and routes it to the rear drive module. The DTCM contains AWD system software that provides enhanced handling and improved traction to the rear wheels via the RDM. When only front-wheel drive is required, AAM’s PTU disconnects and stops spinning the driveshaft no longer sending power to the RDM. Less spinning helps increase efficiency and reduces emissions while still providing enhanced safety when needed. AAM introduced the industry’s first disconnecting AWD system in late 2013.