[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.]
Volvo Trucks announces XE11 fuel efficiency package for 11L North American engines; up to 3% improvement in fuel efficiency
October 15, 2013
Volvo Trucks expanded its XE (exceptional efficiency, earlier post) powertrain package lineup with the introduction of XE11 for its 11-liter Volvo D11 engine. Available on Volvo VNM and VNL models and rated up to 80,000 lbs. GCWR, XE11 is suited for less-than-truckload, distribution, bulk haul and other regional applications. The powertrain package improves fuel efficiency by up to 3%.
Volvo first introduced XE packages for its 13-liter D13 and 16-liter D16 engines. To date, more than 24% of all Volvo-powered trucks ordered in 2013 also feature XE powertrain packages. The XE11 package includes the following components:
Chrysler Group files S-1 for IPO; snapshot of R&D priorities; exploring a light-duty hydraulic hybrid
September 24, 2013
Chrysler Group LLC has filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) relating to a proposed initial public offering of common shares. Details of the offering—i.e., number of shares and price range—are yet to be determined.
However, the document not only provides a detailed look at the finances of the company, it also provides a quick recap of recent technology developments and some insight into the company’s immediate research priorities. Chrysler writes that its has “made the development of more fuel-efficient vehicles a priority to meet retail consumer preferences, comply with future regulations and as part of our commitment to sustainability.”
DSD 3-speed EV transmission with Oxford YASA axial flux motor to be integrated in Range Rover Evoque_e research vehicle
September 09, 2013
|Compared to a single-speed EV or HEV transmission, DSD’s MSYS 3-speed system provides a 40% weight saving and 10-15% lower energy consumption. Click to enlarge.|
Specialist engineering consultancy Drive System Design (DSD) has been named as a member of the £16-million, 27-month Evoque_e program (earlier post) to develop new modular hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery-electric vehicle (BEV) technology.
DSD will be responsible for integrating high speed E-machines, clutches and clutch strategies associated with torque management and delivery to the wheels. The pure electric research vehicle will feature the company’s novel MSYS multi-speed traction system developed by DSD and Oxford YASA Motors (earlier post), which incorporates a three-speed powershifting gearbox and axial flux motor.
ZF opens passenger car transmission plant in the US; emphasis on 9-speed automatics
July 26, 2013
|Manufacturing 8-speed automatics at Gray Court. Click to enlarge.|
ZF Friedrichshafen AG has officially opened its new plant for automatic passenger car transmissions in the US. Located in South Carolina, ZF Transmissions Gray Court, LLC will produce about 1.2 million transmissions at this plant annually; this includes 400,000 8-speed and 800,000 9-speed automatic transmissions (earlier post). The new plant expands the existing capacities at the Saarbrücken location to produce 8-speed automatic transmissions.
So far, ZF has invested around €300 million (US$399 million) in building the new location, which is around 130 kilometers (81 miles) north-west of Columbia. A total of approx. €450 million (US$598 million) is planned for investment into the new location—the largest single investment in the almost century-long history of ZF, emphasized Dr. Konstantin Sauer, ZF Board Member responsible for finance and the North American region.
Oerlikon Graziano launches 4-speed electric drive; up to 15% efficiency increase
July 25, 2013
Transmission specialist Oerlikon Graziano, part of Oerlikon’s Drive Systems Segment, is presenting its 4SED (4 Speed Electric Drive) (earlier post) to customers around Europe. This new compact, lightweight transmission offers increased efficiency, smooth shifting and a scalable design making it suitable for a wide range of vehicle types.
The 4SED, based on Graziano’s original eDCT (electric dual clutch transmission), uses two traction motors in a very compact package which provides four speeds to allow running closer to peak efficiency. The result is an overall efficiency improvement of up to 15%, which translates into increased range or improved performance for the vehicle. The mechanical design concept was developed by Oerlikon Graziano, while the shift control system was engineered by UK controls specialist Vocis Driveline.
Mercedes-Benz introduces 9G-TRONIC 9-speed on E350 BlueTEC
July 24, 2013
|9G-TRONIC. Click to enlarge.|
Mercedes-Benz’ new E350 BlueTEC features as standard the new 9G-TRONIC, the first rear-wheel drive nine-speed automatic transmission with torque converter. The 9G-TRONIC is suitable for rear-wheel and all-wheel drives as well as hybrid and plug-in hybrid drive systems and will be used in almost all model series and engines in the coming years.
The E350 with 9G-TRONIC is equipped with a 185 kW (252 hp) V6 diesel engine and delivers NEDC fuel consumption of 5.3 liters of diesel per 100 km (44.4 mpg US). The reduced fuel consumption of the E 350 BlueTEC with 9G-TRONIC compared to prior models has primarily been achieved as a result of the high level of efficiency of the transmission. As part of this, the broad ratio spread of 9.15 for gears one to nine enables a perceptible reduction in engine speed and is a decisive factor behind the high level of energy efficiency and ride comfort.
New 2014 Toyota Corolla brings Valvematic, new CVT to North America; up to >40 mpg highway
June 07, 2013
|2014 Toyota Corolla LE Eco. Click to enlarge.|
Toyota unveiled the 2014 Toyota Corolla—the 11th generation of the car. With nearly 40 million units sold, the Toyota Corolla is the world’s best-selling car nameplate; this year marks its 47th year on the market.
The 2014 Corolla is available in four distinct grades: L, LE, S, and the new LE Eco grade. The LE Eco grade is differentiated by a more efficient 140-horsepower, 1.8-liter engine with Valvematic technology; improved aerodynamics; and low rolling resistance tires. The Corolla Eco-badged models will achieve an estimated highway fuel economy rating of more than 40 mpg (5.88 l/100km) due to to the new Valvematic engine combined with a newly developed Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).
Oerlikon and Continental to cooperate on motor and transmission systems for hybrid & electric vehicles
May 28, 2013
Swiss high-tech industrial Group Oerlikon and international automotive supplier Continental have entered into an agreement to cooperate on the development and marketing of integrated axle drive motor and transmission systems for hybrid and electric vehicles featuring optimized overall powertrain efficiency.
Oerlikon Graziano SpA will contribute its know-how in the development, production and design of high-performance transmissions, while Continental’s Powertrain Division will bring to the table its expertise in the development of conventional, hybrid and all-electric passenger car powertrains.
Vocis launching demo EV with 2nd generation multi-speed transmission; projected 15% improvement in vehicle efficiency
April 30, 2013
|2nd generation eDCT prototype unit, with both motors mounted at the same end of the transmission. Source: Vocis. Click to enlarge.|
During the coming month, UK-based transmission engineering and control specialist Vocis will launch an electric demonstrator vehicle fitted with the second generation of its multi-speed eDCT transmission for electric vehicles. The demonstration vehicle, a Mercedes-Benz Vito minibus, will be made available for evaluation by interested parties from industry and the press.
The 4-speed dual-motor Vocis eDCT concept (earlier post) uses the principles of dual clutch transmissions (DCTs) to provide seamless shifting and up to 15% improvement in electric vehicle efficiency over the combined European cycle compared to a single speed gearbox Vocis transmission. The second-generation unit has been developed with partial funding from the Niche Vehicle Network and was shortlisted for an SMMT Automotive Innovation award in 2012.
ZF’s decoupleable all-wheel drive system for cars delivers up to 5% reduction in fuel consumption compared to conventional AWD
April 22, 2013
|Simulation of CO2savings using ECOnnect decoupleable AWD system. Source: ZF. Click to enlarge.|
ZF has developed an all-wheel drive system for front-transverse installation in passenger cars that, through an automatic decoupling function, can reduce fuel consumption by up to 5% in comparison with conventional all-wheel drives, according to the company. Additionally, the front-transverse architecture allows for a combination with the new ZF 9-speed automatic transmission. ZF showed the ECOnnect system, first presented at a technical workshop in October last year, at the 2013 SAE World Congress.
Currently, vehicles with classic, controllable all-wheel drive (AWD) do not have better fuel economy than vehicles with permanent all-wheel drive; even when the second axle is trailing, the driveline is active, which causes spilling and friction losses.
GM and Ford jointly to develop new 9- and 10-speed automatic transmissions
April 15, 2013
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.
Opel to launch 3 new engine families, 13 new engines by 2016
April 10, 2013
Opel is launching three new engine families and 13 new engines between 2012 and 2016, renewing 80% of its engine portfolio. In the same period the company will also launch a number of new transmissions.
Opel—in which GM has said it will invest €4 billion (US$5.3 billion) through 2016—is beginning the renewal of its powertrain portfolio now with the introduction of all-new 1.6-liter gasoline and diesel engines, together with next generation five- and six-speed gearboxes. They will be joined by the end of this year by a new small-displacement gasoline engine family.
GM investing $332M in 4 sites to produce new Ecotec small gasoline engine, 8-speed, V6
April 05, 2013
General Motors Co. will invest nearly $332 million in four manufacturing sites to produce more fuel-efficient engines and transmissions. The investments at GM plants in Flint and Bay City, Mich.; Toledo, Ohio; and Bedford, Ind. will support production of a new Ecotec small gasoline engine, a new V6 engine, 8-speed transmission, and tooling for an existing 6-speed transmission.
The new small Ecotec gasoline engine is part of a new global engine family that could top 2 million engines a year by the end of the decade, based on production in Flint and other locations around the world. The new family comprises a range of three- and four-cylinder engines in displacements from 1.0L to 1.5L and is the result of an engineering partnership between GM and the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. (SAIC), Shanghai General Motors (SGM) and the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC). (Earlier post.)
New 2014 Jeep Cherokee features up to 31 mpg highway, 9-speed transmission; driver assistance firsts
March 27, 2013
|2014 Jeep Cherokee. Click to enlarge.|
Chrysler introduced the new 2014 Jeep Cherokee mid-size SUV at the New York International Auto Show. The new Cherokee features a segment-first nine-speed automatic transmission, developed in partnership with ZF; fuel economy improvements of more than 45% versus the outgoing Liberty model; and more than 70 advanced safety and security features.
Powered by the choice of two new engines mated to the nine-speed, the Cherokee features expected highway fuel economy ratings of up to 31 mpg US (7.6 l/100 km) and a driving range on a tank of gasoline of nearly 500 miles (805 km).
Torotrak acquires 20% of Flybrid Automotive Ltd, with option for remainder by end of year; accelerating adoption of flywheel hybrids; Allison investment
March 19, 2013
|Cutaway of the Flybrid flywheel and Torotrak IVT. Click to enlarge.|
UK-based toroidal drive company Torotrak has acquired a 20% stake in flywheel hybrid innovator Flybrid Automotive Ltd (formerly Flybrid Systems LLP) (earlier post) with an option to acquire the remaining shares before the end of the calendar year.
Torotrak says that the transaction strengthens its ability to provide turnkey development and manufacture of complete flywheel hybrid systems for buses, trucks, passenger cars, commercial and off-highway vehicles. The company expects the deal will accelerate the adoption of its technology, which it says will be in fleet trials with bus operators later this year through an agreement with bus constructor Wrightbus.
Cadillac twin-turbo V6 and 8-speed transmission debut in 2014 CTS sedan
March 18, 2013
|2014 3.6L V-6 VVT DI Twin Turbo (LF3) for Cadillac CTS. Click to enlarge.|
Cadillac announced details of a new Twin-Turbo V-6 engine and eight-speed transmission—firsts for the brand and signature features of the all-new 2014 Cadillac CTS midsize luxury sedan debuting next week at the New York Auto Show.
Rated at an SAE-certified 420 horsepower (313 kW) and 430 lb-ft of torque (583 N·m ), it is the most powerful V-6 ever from General Motors. It is also the most power-dense six-cylinder engine in the midsize luxury segment, with 118 hp/liter (88 kW/liter). GM estimated fuel economy for the CTS with Twin-Turbo is 17 mpg city (13.8 l/100 km) and 25 mpg highway (9.4 l/100 km).
Land Rover to demonstrate ZF 9-speed automatic transmission; up to 16% fuel savings over standard 6-speed automatic
February 27, 2013
|The ZF 9HP 9-speed. Source: ZF. Click to enlarge.|
At the upcoming Geneva Motor Show, Land Rover will announce the first 9-speed automatic transmission for a passenger car; Land Rover is the lead partner on the project, working together with ZF. The ZF 9HP transmission (earlier post) is specifically designed for transverse applications and front or four-wheel drive and can thus be installed in 75% of all cars produced worldwide, ZF notes.
Increasing the number of gear ratios from six to nine improves fuel economy and a correspondingly reduces CO2 emissions. (ZF suggests that the 9HP can provide fuel savings up to 16% compared to a standard 6-speed front transverse automatic transmission.) Smaller ratio steps give improved response during acceleration, improved shift quality, drive and refinement. The higher top gear not only reduces fuel consumption but the lower engine revs improve comfort and reduce noise when cruising at high speed.
Mercedes-Benz to offer new generation of 4MATIC all-wheel drive system next year integrated with 7G-DCT transmission; lighter and more efficient
December 18, 2012
|Elements of the new 4MATIC. Click to enlarge.|
Starting next year, Mercedes-Benz will offer a new generation of the 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive system with fully variable torque distribution. This completely new development is based on the front-wheel drive architecture with transversely mounted engines.
The most innovative components of the new 4MATIC include the power take-off to the rear axle which is integrated in the 7G-DCT automated dual clutch transmission and the rear-axle gear unit with integrated, electrohydraulically controlled multi-disc clutch. This set-up enables fully variable distribution of the drive torque between front and rear axle. Additional benefits of this design are a lower system weight than is available from the competition and high efficiency. Similarly to the front-wheel drive versions, all 4MATIC models also boast good energy efficiency.
Xtrac developing hybridized AMT for luxury vehicles; up to 1,000 N·m torque
December 04, 2012
|The Xtrac 1010 hybridized AMT features a 60kW electric motor. Click to enlarge.|
Xtrac has designed a hybridized automated manual transmission (H-AMT), designated 1010, targeted at enabling future premium luxury road vehicles (supercars and limos) to meet the 95 g/km CO2 emission requirement being introduced by European legislators for 2020.
The 1010 H-AMT fits the same compact transmission envelope as the company’s 1007 gearbox with its high torque carrying capability and transverse gear cluster orientation, as supplied to Pagani for the mid-engine Huayra supercar. Xtrac believes its distinctive transverse transmission configuration lends itself particularly well to hybridization and offers a solution to the supercar sector’s preference for retaining high power, multi-cylinder engines while meeting 2020 emission targets. The transmission can handle engine torque capacities ranging from 800 to 1,000 N·m (590 to 738 lb-ft) dependent on vehicle gross weight and the particular application.
BorgWarner expects $2.3B of net new powertrain business 2013–2015; 80% engine-related; 32% in China
November 07, 2012
BorgWarner Inc. expects $2.3 billion of net new powertrain business for 2013 through 2015. Demand for the company's advanced powertrain technologies, including gasoline and diesel turbochargers; dual-clutch transmission technology; engine timing systems; and emissions products, is expected to continue to drive strong growth.
Of the total new business, approximately 80% is anticipated from engine-related products such as turbochargers, ignition systems, emissions products, engine timing systems, variable cam timing modules and thermal systems. The remaining approximate 20% is expected from drivetrain-related products including the company’s fuel-efficient DualTronic transmission technology and its traditional automatic transmission and all-wheel drive technologies.
Nissan boosts fuel economy of 2013 Pathfinder SUV by 30%, drops weight by 500 lbs
October 16, 2012
|2013 Pathfinder. Click to enlarge.|
Nissan’s new 2013 Pathfinder SUV—the 4th generation of the vehicle introduced more than 25 years ago—utilizes a new drivetrain featuring a 3.5-liter DOHC V6 engine mated to a next-generation Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) to help provide up to a 30% increase in combined city/highway fuel economy over the previous V6-equipped model while maintaining comparable power.
Fuel economy is rated at 26 mpg highway / 20 mpg city and 22 mpg combined for the 2WD model (9.0, 11.8 and 10.7 l/100 km, respectively) and 25 mpg highway / 19 mpg city and 21 mpg combined for the 4WD model (9.4, 12.4 and 11.2 l/100 km). By comparison, the 2WD MY 2012 Pathfinder, equipped with a 6-cylinder, 4.0L engine was EPA-rated at 22 mpg highway / 15 mpg city and 17 mpg combined.