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Honda develops new CVT for midsize vehicles; featured first on all-new Step WGN and Step WGN Spada

5 April 2012

Cutaway of the new CVT for mid-size vehicles. Click to enlarge.

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has developed a new continuously variable transmission (CVT) for mid-size vehicles that significantly enhances both driving performance and fuel economy. The new CVT is the latest addition to the Earth Dreams Technology (earlier post) series of next-generation technologies for automobiles.

The all-new Step WGN and Step WGN Spada in Japan will be the first vehicles to feature this new CVT and will offer the highest fuel economy in their class, based on Honda calculations for 5-number (i.e., compact-size), 2.0 liter-class vehicles with a height of 1,800 mm or more and seating seven or eight occupants (as of April 2012).

Current model of the Step WGN Spada. Click to enlarge.

To enhance fuel economy, the new CVT is compatible with an idle-stop system and features a high-efficiency electric oil pump and high-strength belt, among other features. The wide ratio range offers cruising with enhanced torque in the lower rpm range, thereby enhancing fuel economy. At the same time, the wide ratio range increases drive power during off-the-line acceleration to help realize an exhilarating and sporty driving feel.

The G-Design Shift, a new coordinated control system for gearing, throttle and hydraulic control, responds quickly to driver input, maintains strong and smooth acceleration G and helps realize an exhilarating and sporty driving feel.

Through this combination of technologies, in a comparison of Honda vehicles in the same class, the new CVT offers 5% higher fuel economy than a conventional CVT and 10% higher than a 5-speed automatic transmission.

In November 2011, Honda announced Earth Dreams Technology, a series of next-generation technologies for automobiles that significantly enhance both driving performance and fuel economy, combining environmental responsibility with the fun driving customers expect from Honda.

The first technologies in the series were the newly developed engine and CVT for minicars that were featured on the N BOX. The new CVT for midsize vehicles featured on the all-new Step WGN and Step WGN Spada is the second technology to join the series.

April 5, 2012 in Fuel Efficiency, Transmissions | Permalink | Comments (31) | TrackBack (0)


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The CVT answer to the 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox?

"The CVT answer to the 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox?"

Only if it fulfills the following criteria:
a) smaller and lighter than DCG
b) increased reliability
c) same price or cheaper than DCG

I would add "more efficient" on top of the list. Contemporary CVTs have not been very efficient. Thus, European car manufacturers (with a few exceptions) have more or less lost interest in CVTs. The first generation DCGs were not so efficient either but the second generation is much better. For diesel applications, gearbox and car manufacturers are already working on 9-speed versions of the DCG.

No surprise to me.  Just eliminating the parasite drain of the hydraulic pump is a win.

Surprise, surprise: Most of the parasitic loss is in the belt/wheel contact.

With future in or near wheel e-motors on all wheels, CTV or 9+ speeds AT may no longer be a requirement, regardless of their relative efficiency.

Both will go the same way as 100% mechanical time pieces went.

Protean has a 50 kW in wheel design that could be put in board as well. Two of these would eliminate the transmission and differential nicely.

OK, here is the challenge - and it always is in the IP world: it looks like Nissan and Honda are eliminating 40% of the friction in the transmission. Ford (and VW) have cut consumption 10-20% via engine downsizing. So.....if Ford can get 30MPG combined in a 1.6T/6sp automatic Fusion and Nissan can get 31MPG combined in a 2.5/CVT Altima, could somebody get 34MPG combined in a 1.6T/CVT mid size car?

If you strive for efficiency, an e-motor is not the way to go. You Americans have to learn to save energy!

Peter.. many new e-motors have very high efficiency (95%+) and should be very durable and maintenance free. Our electricity is about 95%+ Hydro (the other 5% is from Wind and Nuke); very reliable (99.999%+); is very cheap @ about $0.06 KWh; very sustainable for centuries to come. The average BEV using about 10 KWh/day for about 60 Km/day would cost a mere $0.60/day. That's a lot (25 times) less than the equivalent ICEV with gas at $1.50/L. With all other maintenance cost saved, the total difference may be close to 28/30 times.

There is no doubts that EVs are many times more efficient and cleaner than equivalent ICEVs, even when initial purchase price is 50+% higher.

Wow, I'm getting old and curmudgety:

You can have my manual transmission when you pry it out of my cold, dead fingers.


They should implement Artemis hydraulic hybrid with less weight and less complexity and up to twice as many miles per gallon with the same engine or even more with a smaller engine. The Artemis company was sold to a Japanese company for its windmill transmission for megawatt windmills. ..HG..

If e-motors have a peak efficiently of 95% a mechanical gearbox at 98% is more efficient. As long as you make electricity from coal, natural gas and nuclear energy, EVs do not make any sense. As MIT showed in a report a couple of years ago, not even future US electricity production could make an EV as efficient in a WTW perspective as a parallel electric hybrid. (I have provided the link to this reference a couple of times before, so it is not included here.). Thus, regarding efficiently and CO2 emissions, there are no arguments for EVs. Luckily, they are so expensive that no one wants to buy them.

BTW: So far this year in Sweden, only 5 private car owners have bought an EV, this in spite of all the incentives.

I think there is some misunderstanding here. Harvey by "Our electricity" probably meant electricity in Quebec, which is very 'green'.
You probably haven't been there yet, I'd recommend that you visit Montreal and Quebec City, preferably in summer, as winters are very cold (although for those from Sweden it may not matter), very nice places, good to know some basic French. You can combine that with visits to New York City and Boston. Quebec is not typical American, something between America and France.

I think Sustainable Mobility has to do with the human race on this planet and not one locale that might do better than others.

The one element that we all have in common is the sun. Once we harness that wireless fusion generator we can get more towards a sustainable future.

As long as you make electricity from coal, natural gas and nuclear energy, EVs do not make any sense.
Don't make sense how?  Nuclear is carbon-free and has minuscule waste volumes even with the faults of the LWR fuel cycle.  Natural gas burned in CCGTs is far more efficient than any ICEV, and even coal is independent of hostile suppliers such as OPEC.  They all make sense on some level.

I was referring to the USA (and the US electricity mix). I stated that very clearly.

Yes, I have been to Canada both winter and summer. It is a nice country. When you cross the border from the USA (coming Detroit, for example) to Canada, everything is cleaner, e.g. less garbage thrown at the roadside. I once made a trip by car from Winnipeg to Vancouver Island and back, so I have seen quite a lot of Canada. And yes, electric cars make more sense in a country where electricity production is “cleaner”. However, we should also note that USA and Canada are linked together when it comes to electricity production and incremental electricity production presumably has quite a large carbon footprint in Canada as well as in the USA. Anyway, if you can produce electricity with low CO2 in Canada, the best you could do would be to send this electricity to the USA so that they can shut down some old power plants. This could be done instantly and give much better result than introducing a few EVs on the market.

Read the MIT report!!! I have referred to it numerous times on this forum. Then my comments will make sense. An EV running on US electricity mix is less efficient than a parallel hybrid gasoline car (a diesel would of course be even more efficient).

Nuclear power? So you do not care if you get a new catastrophe? Well, good luck but remember that you are playing with something far more dangerous than fire! I am glad that I live far away from the USA.

Peter...we sold over $1.1B of clean electricity to North Eastern States last year. We could sell much more but Coal/NG/Nuclear power plants lobbies (South of the Border) convinced many politicians and many citizens that Hydro Electricity is not green enough and that we should only ship (South) electricity from Wind turbines. That's why we have installed some 2000 wind turbines and will install 2000+ more in the next 3 to 5 years to double our exports to USA.

Meanwhile, we are building many more large and small Hydro plants (to increase installation from 45,000 megawatt to 90,000 megawatt for the local market, future electrified vehicles and for export to neighboring Provinces and USA. Wind turbines could also be multiplied, specially on East, North and West Coast lines where very good quality winds exist. The very high voltage transmission lines (735,000 Volts) cloud be upgraded to transport more energy from new Hydro plants and adjacent wind turbines. We could easily supply most of the clean e-energy required for 50,000,000+ EVs South of the Border at a very low price. are added info: Our unique 800 Megawatt Candu Nuke Power Plant is getting very old and will soon have to be rebuilt at a cost of about $5B or shut down at a cost of about $3B. We could build another 1000+ Megawatt Hydro plant for about $6B or another 3000 wind turbines. NG/Coal power plants are out of the question even if local shale gas will be available shortly, after an 18-month moratory or delay for extensive studies etc. The St-Lawrence River valley has very similar potential for SG as Pennsylvania, but the local resistance is very strong. Almost everybody prefer cleaner Hydro Electricity.

My guess is that we will have a mix of more Hydro and Wind for the next 10,000+ Megawatt and that the Candu will be shut down in 2 to 3 years, the same way as the last 4 coal fired power plants were shut down.

We would like to supply more clean power to Ontario so they could shut down many of their old coal fired power plants. Ontario is also having problems with their aging Candu Nuke power plants. The solution is political. You can get $16B to $25B in subsidies for Nuke but $0.00 for Hydro.

Peter, I recall reading the entire MIT report.  It deals only with carbon emissions, not energy security.  Plus, you ignore that nuclear has neither direct carbon emissions nor land-use changes with carbon impacts.

Nuclear power? So you do not care if you get a new catastrophe?
What new catastrophe?  The entire OECD and EU-27 had zero in 35 years; arguably, Fukushima makes that somewhere between 1 and 3 major problems, but still zero fatalities.  Given that people can handle at least 100 times the worldwide average chronic radiation exposure (2.4 mSv/yr) without measurable impact on health, even Fukushima really doesn't qualify.  The area is a great deal more habitable than the overly-cautious standards deem it to be; about the only thing to be worried about is bioaccumulation of cesium and strontium, which are easily measured and avoided.

Seriously, it's nowhere near the issue you believe it to be.  Look at the data, ignore the hype.

Concerning nuclear, it seems the redundant cooling is always AT the reactor. Maybe have one cooling source miles away.

As long as nuclear has factors of cost over-run, it's not viable. If smaller units can get around this, use them or nothing will change.

The days of "monkeywrenching" utility nuclear projects are over and done. And with it the decades long costly construction delays while demagogic lawyers wrangle and employ every strategem to delay in court.

The Energy Acts of 2005 and 2007 produced lots of mischief, in order to obtain reform of those laws. Despite every delay imagineable imposed by the anti-energy Obamacites, while pretending otherwise, even they ran out of excuses, to delay eventually.

The AP-1000 Westinghouse-Toshiba "Standard Design" Gen III+, walk-away, Passive PWR reactor was finally licensed last December. Combined Construction and Operating Licenses have now been assigned to Georgia Power in February and to Scana in March 2012 for contruction of four reactors at Vogtle and Summer Power Stations. Work is already proceeding. The GE-Hitachi even safer fully passive, ESBWR "Standard Design" is only a few month from similar approval.

The new "anti-monkeywrenching" laws have been tested by several obstuction intended anti-nuclear groups already. In every case, the cases were summarily thrown out of court. A wonderful omen, it is indeed.

It portends that the capital costs for an AP-1000 1114MW plant will decline from $ 4.9 billion, to nearer $3.5 billion, and not rise erratically from there, due to monkeywrenching. One 1970s plant reportedly had costs rise to $11 billion, before the near bankrupt Utility gave up, and mothballed/cancelled the almost completed project. Instead we got 30 years of coal fired pollution from even then obsolescent, and pollution spouting old smokers, 'grandfathered in' by the incredibly bumbling Carterites.

Note that a single pair of thse new nuclear plants coming on-line in 2016-2017, will outproduce everyone of the thousands of windmills and solar power stations now in existence in America, combined.

That is if any of today's windmills, will be still turning in 2017, as the windmill active life seems to be only as long as it takes the erector to get paid; and the owners to grift away any remaing funds and tax credits, before declaring bankruptcy.

Meanwhile these nuclear fission plants will run 93% of the time for the next 60 years plus, well into the Fusion era, producing reliable electricity for millions.

I thought I was going to have to fully agree with a Stan P. post also, but he said this:

Note that a single pair of thse new nuclear plants coming on-line in 2016-2017, will outproduce everyone of the thousands of windmills and solar power stations now in existence in America, combined.
Wind is already more than 2% of US net generation, over 10 GW average.  It'll take more than 2 new reactors to beat it.

To set the records straight, USA produced 4 Trillion KWh in 2011.

1. Coal = 42% or 1.68 TKwh
2. NG = 25% or 1.0 TKwh
3. Nuke = 19% or 0.76 TKwh
4. Hydro = 8% or 0.32 TKwh
5. Wind = 3% or 0.12 TKwh
6. Bio-M = 1% or 0.04 TKwh
7. Geo-T = 1% or 0.04 TKwh
8. Solar = 1% or 0.04 TKwh

Since Hydro + NG = 33% or 1.32 TKwh, Wind & Solar could, in principle, produce as much (1.32 TKwh instead of 0.16 TKwh) when/if Hydro & NG power plants are used as back-up for the two intermittent sources.

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