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GM and Ford jointly to develop new 9- and 10-speed automatic transmissions

Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. have signed an agreement under which both companies will jointly develop a new generation of advanced technology 9- and 10-speed automatic transmissions for cars, crossovers, SUVs and trucks.

The new transmissions, to be built in both front- and rear-wheel drive variants, will improve vehicle performance and increase fuel economy. The collaboration enables both automakers to design, develop, engineer, test, validate and deliver these new transmissions for their vehicles faster and at lower cost than if each company worked independently.

Engineering teams from GM and Ford have already started initial design work on these new transmissions. We expect these new transmissions to raise the standard of technology, performance and quality for our customers while helping drive fuel economy improvements into both companies’ future product portfolios.

—Jim Lanzon, GM vice president of global transmission engineering

This new agreement marks the third time in the past decade that GM and Ford have collaborated on transmissions. These collaborative efforts have enabled both companies together to deliver more than 8 million 6-speed front-wheel drive transmissions to customers around the globe.

Ford installs these 6-speed transmissions in vehicles such as the Ford Fusion family sedan, the Edge crossover and the Escape and Explorer SUVs, while GM installs them into products such as the Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Traverse, Chevrolet Equinox and Chevrolet Cruze.

These original collaborations served as a template for the new one. As before, each company will manufacture its own transmissions in its own plants with many common components.

The goal is to keep hardware identical in the Ford and GM transmissions. This will maximize parts commonality and give both companies economy of scale. However, we will each use our own control software to ensure that each transmission is carefully matched to the individual brand-specific vehicle DNA for each company.

—Craig Renneker, Ford’s Chief Engineer, Transmission & Driveline Component & Pre-Program Engineering

Further technical details and vehicle applications for these transmissions will be released by each company at the appropriate time before launch.

Comments

DaveD

Why not 20 gears! Hell, do I hear 30???

This is silly. How much gain in efficiency are you really getting past 7 or 8 and how complex/heavy is this becoming? How much is it going to cost to repair/replace when they have problems?

A stop-start system will give you more bang for the buck and less time inhaling fumes in traffic.

Bernard

Dave,

Multi-gear transmissions are not incompatible with start-stop systems.

The idea behind this kind of transmission is that you can keep the engine at the most efficient point in its power curve, based on the current torque demand. You can also have a lower 1st gear (which means that you rely less on wasteful torque converter slip), and a higher top gear.

Modern transmissions last the life of the vehicle, so repair costs are immaterial. You do get the occasional turkey (previous-gen Honda Odyssey, for instance), but that's what Ford and GM are trying to avoid by combining resources.

SJC

Just use a CVT, Nissan has one that takes the torque from a 265 hp V6 with more than a 7 to 1 ratio.

DaveD

Bernard,
I know they can both be used. My complaint is they spend the money to keep doing fancier and fancier transmissions when they could just do start-stop for less money and get better results.
Of course, the main reason for that is because the EPA has stacked the MPG testing where they get ZERO credit for start stop systems so why would they bother? It doesn't show up on MPG stickers so they have no incentive to do it.

Bernard

Dave,

Understood.
Start-stop is most effective in the city (obviously), and extended gear ratios are most effective on the open road, so they complement each other quite well.

I'm sure that Ford and GM would use CVTs if they found them to be either cheaper or more effective. Chrysler is also using a planetary gear 9-speed in their new Cherokee, so there must be some advantage to this configuration.

kelly

Maybe new 9- and 10-speed automatic transmissions will be expensive enough to offset present EV battery costs.

HarveyD

Will a dying technology (ICEVs) is and will try the impossible to survive?

sd

SJC

The problem with a friction type CVT is that they have to slip to function and the slip results in both an efficiency loss and in wear. The slip is proportional to the torque transmitted. Anyway, at some point the loss in transmission efficiency more than offsets gain in engine efficiency.

DaveD

Bernard,
Agreed. In fact, I bought a little 2003 MR2 that I'm going to convert to electric one day as a geek hobby. But right now the engine is running so well and I average nearly 33 MPG so I hate to kill it. But I do wish they would have made 5th gear taller. I think I could get 38 or 39 MPG on the hwy if they had (getting 36 now).

Of course, I get better MPG than most on the highway because I played around with her and put an under-tray on the front end and made the one on the back better. It gave me a couple of extra MPG on the hwy.

I love how the car makers whine and moan about how hard it is to improve the MPG on a car when you can look at the underside of most and see where they could get another 10% hwy mileage with a piece of plastic.

ToppaTom

I believe that with more gears, more (most) time is spent with the fluid coupling locked up, less complex (or no?) torque converter function is required, more/sooner shifts to higher gears is acceptable (with no loss of smoothness).

I have changed from a car with a 4 speed AT to 6 and there is a HUGE improvement in drivability.

But I must admit that 10 seems incredible - and how do they do it?

Also newer cars, with direct injection use an almost insignificant amount gas at idle.

SJC

sd,

Who says it has to be a friction type CVT? There are several designs in production, they produce good mileage numbers, some even allow towing.

sd

SJC

The Nissan CVTs are friction based as are all mechanical CVTs and they have a continuous slippage which is proportional to the torque transmitted. It is possible to build a variable speed planetary using an variable speed electric motor where most of the power transmitted is from a mechanical source such as an ICE. This is essentially how the Toyota Prius transmission works. The GM Volt also has some variation of this with two variable speed electric motors and planetary gearing.

If you need more information on CVTs see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuously_variable_transmission

ToppaTom

Friction is not slippage.

Friction can be dynamic or static - it does necessarily imply any slippage.

I think the dynamics of the mechanical CVT make for difficult design problems
- more than a 5 to 1 ratio is difficult
- how do you get a "neutral"
- high forces are required to get the necessary friction to transmit the torque

- the torque requires friction but not slippage

I do not think they rely on slippage but typically they cannot avoid slippage completely.

But only in the way a wide tire, in a corner, endures some slippage because it is not coned like the roller in a tapered roller bearing.

Gears require slippage as they mesh but they do not requires transmission of power thru friction, that's why they require and tolerate lubrication.

When you round a bend or stop your car you absolutely need static friction but the lost energy is in the brakes where there is dynamic friction.

litesong

The Nissan CVTs are friction based as are all mechanical CVTs and they have a continuous slippage.......
Posted by: sd
//////////
I had an early Nissan CVT in a 2007 Dodge Caliber. Altho it operated with pressures as high as 900psi, I could get mpg as high as the Caliber 5spd. manual transmissions could get. Present CVTs have mpg greater than 5spd manual transmissions. CVTs are operating well past 100,000 miles. Repeating the unknowledgeable myths of the past, does not show the weaknesses of the CVT. Along with the complexity, expense & uneconomical ability to repair transmissions, CVTs, nine & ten speed transmissions share the same problems.

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