[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]
Extensive rollout for GM 9-speed transmission in China
February 14, 2017
General Motors said it will rapidly and extensively deploy its new nine-speed automatic transmission in China, which is debuting in a high-volume SUV later this year. The state-of-the-art transmission, which optimizes efficiency, performance and refinement, will be adopted in 13 models in China from the Chevrolet, Buick and Cadillac brands by 2020.
The new nine-speed automatic offers a fuel efficiency improvement of up to 2% compared to a six-speed transmission. It supports stop/start technology, which further helps save fuel by allowing the engine to shut down in certain stop-and-go driving conditions. It was developed globally and tested in various road conditions worldwide, including China.
Valeo to form transmission JV with S. Korean partner Pyeong Hwa Group; torque converters and CVTs; boosting sales to Hyundai-Kia
February 07, 2017
France-based Valeo has signed an agreement with its long-standing South Korean partner Pyeong Hwa Group to create a 50/50 joint venture for transmissions; the new company will be called Valeo-Kapec. The partners intend for Valeo-Kapec to become the world leader in torque converters and CVTs.
Each partner will contribute to this Joint-Venture its respective torque Ccnverter business, located for Valeo at Nanjing (China), Atsugi (Japan), San Luis Potosi (Mexico) and Troy (USA) and located for Kapec in Daegu, Waegwan and Seongju (South Korea).
NSK demonstrates transmission-equipped wheel hub motor
January 30, 2017
NSK Ltd. has successfully demonstrated the first transmission-equipped wheel hub motor, designed to improve the environmental performance, safety, and comfort of automobiles. Building on the knowledge it has gained from the prototype wheel hub motor it developed, NSK is aiming to commercialize wheel hub components such as the hub unit bearing with built-in speed reducer, the one-way clutch unit, the miniature cage and roller bearing, and the anti-corrosion bearing.
In-wheel motors that can work with various drive systems independent of the body structure of automobiles are attracting interest as next-generation electric drive devices. An in-wheel motor located near the wheel can reduce the weight of the vehicle, control the drive force of each wheel for improved torque vectoring, and enable the expansion of the size of the cabin space, thereby improving environmental performance, safety, and comfort.
GKN Driveline providing eTransmission to StreetScooter electric vans
January 20, 2017
GKN Driveline is supplying its innovative electric drive technology to StreetScooter, the electric vehicle company owned by Deutsche Post DHL Group. GKN’s Family 2 eTransmission system transmits torque from the eMotor to the wheels of a new StreetScooter zero-emission pure electric van.
GKN’s system has an output torque of up to 2000 N·m in a compact package with superior noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) characteristics and efficiency. The interface enables the electric drive to pair easily with different electric motor designs to simplify integration and application engineering. Other applications for the system include the Fiat 500e city EV and the Citroen Berlingo Electric light commercial vehicle.
Oerlikon Graziano unveils new EV transmission, modular FWD hybrid transmission concept
December 10, 2016
Oerlikon Drive Systems Segment’s transmission specialist brand, Oerlikon Graziano, introduced a new EV transmission and the concept of a new modular front-wheel drive hybrid transmission at the 2016 CTI Symposium and Transmission Expo in Berlin this past week.
The new entry in the electric vehicle range of products of Oerlikon Graziano is a single-speed transmission for a battery electric vehicle designed for a maximum input torque of 270 N·m (199 lb-ft) and max input speed of 14000 rpm. A new lubrication concept guarantees maximum flexibility in term of installation angle to allow the highest level of compatibility with different vehicle layouts. The transmission features a compact design (150 mm (5.91 inches) center distance input shaft) focused on weight optimization.
New Lexus LC 500h with Multi Stage Hybrid System
December 08, 2016
Following the world premiere of the V8-powered LC 500 at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in January 2016, Lexus introduced its hybrid variant, the new LC 500h. (Earlier post.) The LC is a new flagship 2+2 performance coupe for Lexus’ global model range, and will go on sale in the US in Spring 2017.
The LC 500h is the first model to feature the new Multi Stage Hybrid system. (Earlier post.) Adding a multi stage shift device to the 3.5-liter V6 hybrid powertrain delivers greater torque, more usable power across a wider range of engine speeds and rhythmic, linear acceleration that gives the driver the sensation of working with a 10-speed automatic gearbox.
Chevrolet’s 1st 9-speed automatic to debut in 2017 Malibu; available in 2017 Cruze Diesel and 2018 Equinox
December 06, 2016
Chevrolet’s first nine-speed automatic transmission makes its debut in the 2017 Malibu and will be available in the 2017 Cruze Diesel and 2018 Equinox, with another Chevrolet model to follow by the end of 2017. The new, General Motors-developed Hydra-Matic 9T50 nine-speed is paired with the available 2.0L Turbo engine in the Malibu, contributing to an EPA-estimated 33 mpg highway (7.12 l/100 km)—a 3% increase over the 2016 model with the eight-speed automatic.
The new nine-speed has a wider 7.6:1 overall ratio compared to the eight-speed transmission, with a “deep” 4.69 first gear that supports excellent off-the-line acceleration and a “tall” 0.62 top gear for low-rpm highway cruising. That balance optimizes acceleration and fuel economy and reduces engine noise during cruising.
Toyota unveils new TNGA-based engines and transmissions and improved hybrid systems; deployment begins in 2017
In Japan, Toyota Motor Corporation unveiled new advanced engines and transmissions and further evolved hybrid systems based on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA). Toyota intends to deploy these new powertrain units in a rapidly broadening range of vehicle models, starting in 2017. The new units will feature in 60% or more of vehicles sold annually in Japan, United States, Europe and China in 2021, reducing CO2 emissions in those markets by 15% or more.
Within the five years to the end of 2021, Toyota plans to introduce 17 versions of nine new engines; 10 versions of four transmissions, including multi-geared automatic transmissions and a new kind of continuously variable transmission; and 10 versions of six hybrid systems.
BorgWarner launches its first integrated electric drive module for the EV market; first application in China
November 16, 2016
BorgWarner will launch an electric drive module (eDM) with integrated eGearDrive transmission in two pure electric vehicles from a major Chinese automaker. Production is expected to begin in summer 2017. This is the first electric drive module from BorgWarner following its acquisition of Remy in 2015. (Earlier post.)
BorgWarner’s eDM provides primary or secondary propulsion for pure electric or P4-type hybrid vehicles. The integrated design of the electric motor and transmission enables weight, cost and space savings. Since both functions are combined into one housing, installation is also easier.
Ricardo’s low-cost, fuel-efficient automatic transmission concept for motorcycles
November 07, 2016
Ricardo has developed and demonstrated an advanced and cost-effective motorcycle Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) concept that offers the comfort and convenience of automatic and semi-automatic operation with better-than-manual fuel efficiency.
Manual transmissions predominate in almost all non-scooter two-wheeler categories; automated alternatives can be expensive and bring efficiency penalties. BY contrast, the Ricardo concept avoids these drawbacks and is comparatively simple to integrate into an existing product range.
VanDyne SuperTurbo and Allison Transmission collaborating to maximize benefits of downspeeding, supercharging and turbo compounding
October 12, 2016
VanDyne SuperTurbo Inc. and Allison Transmission Inc. are collaborating to co-develop a vehicle demonstrator. The companies plan to leverage the unique performance benefits of VanDyne’s mechanically driven turbocharger in combination with Allison’s TC10 transmission in a Class 8 tractor.
Through the deployment of advanced control techniques, the two technologies will maximize the benefits of engine downspeeding, efficient supercharging and turbo compounding. The primary objective of the collaboration is to demonstrate how these two products, when paired with an intelligently controlled vehicle, can reduce carbon dioxide emissions and improve fuel efficiency without sacrificing performance.
Jaguar Land Rover expanding Ingenium powertrain family; new gasoline engine, TRANSCEND transmission
September 12, 2016
This week, Jaguar Land Rover will expand its Ingenium powertrain family (earlier post), unveiling new technologies for both current and future vehicles. The new additions will support the company’s long-term commitment to reduce vehicle emissions and improve fuel economy across its range through the introduction of more efficient engines along with alternative powertrains, lighter vehicles and improved vehicle energy conservation.
At the heart of its low-emissions strategy, the new four-cylinder Ingenium gasoline engine is now in production at Jaguar Land Rover’s £1-billion (US$1.33-billion) Engine Manufacturing Centre. Designed, engineered and manufactured in the UK, these engines will deliver up to 25% more power than the engines they replace and offer fuel consumption reductions of up to 15%.
Kia introducing its first FWD 8-speed automatic
September 06, 2016
Kia Motors has revealed some details of its advanced new eight-speed automatic transmission (8AT), engineered for use in front-wheel drive vehicles.
Kia developed the new front-wheel drive 8AT (FWD 8AT) in-house; the new FWD 8AT occupies the same space as a conventional six-speed automatic transmission, and weighs 3.5 kg less. Under development since 2012, the development program for the breakthrough transmission led Kia to patent 143 new technologies to ensure a high level of performance and efficiency in a compact structure.
Xtrac introduces Integrated Lightweight Electric Vehicle (ILEV) transmission system; torque vectoring with dual motors
July 13, 2016
Xtrac has introduced its P1227 gearbox family, developed to address the growing market requirement for single-speed, lightweight and power-dense electric vehicle (EV) transmissions. It offers a range of installation possibilities for fast and powerful electric supercars with front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive configuration.
The new transmission system can be integrated with motors supplied by BorgWarner, GKN and YASA, all of which worked with Xtrac on the integration of their technology into this transmission. The dual electric motors of the transmission system also provide an inherent torque vectoring capabilities.
Torotrak outlines advances in its full-toroidal traction-drive CVT using PitchSteer; EV applications as well
June 24, 2016
At the 2016 International VDI Congress “Drivetrain for Vehicles” in Friedrichshafen, Germany, John Fuller, Director of Concepts & IP for Torotrak Group, presented and discussed the company’s latest advances to optimize its full-toroidal variator technology for the light vehicle market as applied in continuously variable transmissions (CVTs).
Torotrak’s main drive CVTs combine its full toroidal traction drive variator with other conventional transmission components. By combining its extensive experience in main drive and auxiliary drive transmissions, Torotrak has designed a variator concept with ratio spread of up to 12, operated by a low cost actuation system.
Dana presenting VariGlide beltless transmission technology at International VDI Conference
June 17, 2016
Dana Holding Corporation will present its VariGlide planetary variator for beltless continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) at the International VDI Conference, to be held 21-22 June 2016, in Friedrichshafen, Germany.
Dana’s VariGlide technology features a unique planetary, coaxial configuration, which eliminates belts and pulleys used in conventional CVTs. In addition to providing fuel economy benefits relative to 6-, 8-, and 9-speed transmissions, the VariGlide variator has the potential to improve fuel economy by up to 10% when compared with conventional CVTs with belts.
UQM partners with Eaton, Pi Innovo on full MD, HD electric drivetrain system; 2-speed transmission
June 16, 2016
UQM Technologies has begun a development and production program with Eaton’s Vehicle Group and Pi Innovo. The alliance calls for Eaton to develop and supply to UQM a 2-speed transmission for an EV application; Pi Innovo will develop and supply to UQM the transmission control unit. Together, the components will be combined with UQM’s current PowerPhase HD220/HD250 motor and inverter system to create a full electric drivetrain system called the “UQM PowerPhaseDT.”
The system will allow customers in the medium- and heavy-duty EV commercial markets to achieve increased performance in areas of gradability, acceleration and efficiency. UQM will have prototypes ready for customers by early fall and start-of-production units ready by early 2017.
Mercedes-Benz expands plug-in hybrid rollout with 2 models this year; new battery tech in S 500 e in 2017
June 13, 2016
Later this year, Mercedes-Benz will add the seventh and eighth plug-in hybrids to its line up. (Earlier post.) The new GLC Coupé 350 e 4MATIC and the E 350 e will join the S 500 e; C 350 e (Sedan, Wagon and long version for China); the GLE 500 e 4MATIC; and the GLC 350 e 4MATIC. The hybrid (plug-in and conventional) portfolio from Mercedes-Benz currently comprises 13 models.
The E 350 e will use the 9G-TRONIC plug-in-hybrid transmission and the latest generation of electric motors to deliver top rankings in fuel consumption, ride comfort and dynamism. The E 350 e is also the first hybrid from Mercedes-Benz with a high trailer towing capacity of up to 2,100 kg.
DSD and Solvay partner on use of structural plastics for lighter and more efficient transmissions
May 26, 2016
Automotive engineering consultancy Drive System Design (DSD) and international chemical and advanced materials company, Solvay SA, have entered a development partnership to make the large scale use of structural plastic composites in transmissions a viable solution for future vehicles. DSD is contributing the transmission know-how while Solvay the materials expertise.
There is an immediate weight saving from substituting plastic materials for conventional metal castings but equally important is the potential for improved efficiency due to the greater inherent damping provided by polymeric materials, the partners said. This permits the use of gears that are much more efficient but would have unacceptable noise characteristics in a conventional casing.
GKN launches new e-axle all-wheel drive technology on global C-segment vehicle platform with BMW
May 24, 2016
GKN is launching electric all-wheel drive technology on a global vehicle platform. A series of new C-Segment vehicles will offer the option of adding plug-in electric all-wheel drive using GKN Driveline’s latest electric axle drive (eAxle) technology.
GKN has secured orders for a major global platform and production is now underway at the company’s eDrive production facility in Bruneck, Italy. The first application is the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer PHEV. (Earlier post.)
New GM 10-speed auto for Camaro ZL1 shifts quicker than DCT; to be applied in 8 other models by 2018
May 12, 2016
With faster upshifts than a dual-clutch transmission (DCT) and a wider overall gear ratio spread to optimize performance and efficiency, the all-new available GM Hydra-Matic 10-speed automatic transmission sets a new performance standard in the 2017 Camaro ZL1. The transmission is an all-new design—and the first application in a car—with a wider, 7.39 overall gear ratio spread, that enables the ZL1’s supercharged engine to remain at optimal engine speeds during upshifts. GM and Ford began joint development of 9- and 10-speed transmission designs in 2013. (Earlier post.)
The wider overall ratio enables a lower numerical top gear ratio—an attribute that reduces engine speed on the highway, which contributes to greater fuel efficiency than a comparable eight-speed transmission. Improvements in spin loss complement the optimized gearing, further enhancing efficiency. Although the Camaro ZL1 will be the first GM vehicle to offer the new 10-speed automatic, designed for rear-wheel-drive applications, it will be available in eight additional vehicles by 2018.
GM details 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid powertrain design and operation
April 18, 2016
The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid (earlier post) is EPA-rated at 46 mpg (5.11 l/100 km) combined, 47 mpg city and 46 mpg highway; the powertrain shares the transmission architecture with the 2016 Chevrolet Volt extended range electric vehicle (EREV), but includes changes to optimize the system for engine-driven charge-sustaining operation in the range of conditions represented by the US EPA 5 cycle fuel economy tests.
At the 2016 SAE World Congress, GM engineers presented a paper describing the development of the new hybrid powertrain for the popular mid-size sedan. Development was guided by four main objectives:
New Renesas 32-Bit MCUs for improved fuel efficiency in vehicle powertrain control applications
April 05, 2016
Renesas Electronics Corporation announced the 32-bit RH850/E1M-S2 microcontrollers (MCUs) for automotive powertrain control applications. The new MCUs provide high performance and advanced functionality to enable improved fuel efficiency. The RH850/E1M-S2 MCUs include four product versions, including the high-end R7F701216EABA (BGA304, 320MHz).
To help meet increasingly stringent fuel efficiency and CO2targets, engine control systems must optimize the ignition and fuel injection timing to match a variety of conditions, such as current combustion and driving status. Transmission control systems, for their part, must instantly select the optimal gear ratio to match the driving conditions, which change moment by moment, in order to minimize power loss in the transmission.
BASF 2016 science competition seeks synthetic lubricant solutions for future high-efficiency vehicles
March 31, 2016
BASF has kicked off its second annual North American Science Competition. This year’s competition focuses on chemistries that can be used to develop a synthetic fluid to meet the needs of future high-performance, high-efficiency engines and transmissions.
With more advanced machinery, lubricating and functional fluids represent a steadily growing industry projected to reach $11 billion by 2020. Synthetic fluids, which are more expensive than petroleum-derived materials, address increasing market demands for higher quality and purity, increased performance and more stringent environmental standards. By developing high performing synthetic fluids with better thermal stability, BASF aims to extend the life cycle of these materials, reduce waste and support the development of more fuel-efficient vehicles.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles introduces CNG Caddy van with dual-clutch gearbox
February 24, 2016
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles will present the Caddy TGI—the first vehicle in its segment to be equipped with a CNG drive system and a DSG dual-clutch gearbox—at the Geneva Motor Show. The Caddy TGI BlueMotion is a family/city delivery van that runs on either CNG or bio-natural gas. Both the panel van and passenger car variant of the Caddy can also be ordered with a short wheelbase or in the Caddy Maxi version.
With combined natural-gas consumption of 4.1 kg and 4.3 kg per 100 kilometers (short wheelbase and Caddy Maxi, respectively), Caddy drivers can achieve a range of approximately 630 km (391 miles), or 860 km (534 miles), in the pure gas mode. The CO2 emissions of the Caddy TGI amount to 112 g/km in the short-wheelbase version and 116 g/km in the Caddy Maxi version in combination with the six-speed manual gearbox, and 123 g/km and 126 g/km, respectively, with DSG (provisional data).
GM’s new RWD PHEV system for Cadillac CT6 designed for fun-to-drive high performance as well as efficiency; Volt on steroids
February 19, 2016
In a preview of three detailed papers to be presented at the SAE World Congress in April, Tim Grewe, GM’s General Director of electrification, and Pete Savagian, GM General Director of electric drives and systems engineering, provided a technical overview of the new rear-wheel drive PHEV propulsion system for the Cadillac CT6 (earlier post) at the recent SAE 2016 Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium in Anaheim.
The efficient and very fun-to-drive system, with 335 kW (449 hp) combined system power, propels the CT6 from 0-100 km in 5.6 seconds; delivers an all-electric range of more than 60 km (37 miles) and an all-electric top speed of 125 km/h (78 mph); and features combined fuel consumption of less than 2.0 L/100 km (117.7 mpg US).