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[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.]

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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).

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Continental and Fallbrook to collaborate on new CVTs for urban mobility incorporating Fallbrook NuVinci technology

November 20, 2015

Continental has entered into licensing and engineering services agreements with Fallbrook Technologies Inc. (Fallbrook). The central focus of the collaboration is Fallbrook’s NuVinci transmission technology. (Earlier post.)

This innovative continuously variable planetary (CVP) is a new class of continuously variable transmission (CVT) utilizing rotating balls that allow the transmission ratio to change continuously.

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Schaeffler introduces new high-voltage P2 hybrid module; up to 800 N·m; first production application in China in 2017

September 29, 2015

Schaeffler has developed a new P2 (parallel, two-clutch) high-voltage hybrid module—arranged between the internal combustion engine and transmission—that can transmit engine torques of up to 800 N·m (590 lb-ft) to the transmission without having to incorporate a commensurately expensive clutch.The new generation P2 hybrid module can be used in both medium- and very high-performance transmission concepts—e.g., from mild to plug-in hybrids.

The high-torque module distributes the flow of forces in an innovative way; the pathway of torque conveyance depends on its direction. Torques are transmitted to the crankshaft via a 300 N·m disconnect clutch, while traction torques from the internal combustion engine are transmitted to the transmission via a one-way clutch. The clutch can therefore have a compact design, even at high torques, with the corresponding advantages in terms of space utilization and cost. Schaeffler showcased the unit at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt.

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GKN Driveline develops two new eAxles for Concept_e BEV

September 09, 2015

GKN Driveline has developed new electric drive technologies as part of its role in the Concept_e project, a £16-million (US$25-million) UK Government-backed initiative to develop advanced hybrid and electric powertrain systems.

The two-year collaborative research and development project has designed and developed three research technology demonstrators to showcase next-generation technology for a mild hybrid electric vehicle (MHEV); a plug-in hybrid (PHEV); and a full battery electric vehicle (BEV). The technologies were unveiled by Jaguar Land Rover and the project partners at the LCV2015 low carbon vehicle show on Wednesday.

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Evolute Drives test results show 18% reduction in energy consumption with 3-speed MSYS EV transmission compared to single speed

August 20, 2015

Evolute Drives, incorporated as a separate entity by its sister company Drive System Design (DSD) (earlier post), will present practical test results for its high efficiency 3-speed MSYS electric vehicle transmission (earlier post) at the upcoming CTI Symposium in Shanghai (16-18 Sept).

In independent tests, a B-class demonstrator vehicle fitted with the transmission achieved a reduction in energy consumption of up to 18% over the NEDC test cycle, compared to the single-speed base vehicle.

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BRUSA offering new high-efficiency motor/gearbox combination for electric commercial vehicles

July 27, 2015

BRUSA Elektronik AG is offering its Planetary Traction Drive DTSP1—a fully integrated electric vehicle drivetrain combining motor and gearbox—with its higher power HSM1-10.18.22 Hybrid Synchronous Motor, offering 220 kW (295 hp) maximum power (145 kW/194 hp continuous) and up to 460 N·m (339 b-ft) peak torque (270 N·m/199 lb-ft continuous). With this configuration, BRUSA is targeting light commercial vehicles, vans or sports cars.

The compact design of the transmission in combination with the powerful motor results in a highly efficient power set. The DTSP1 unit can be used as an axle or four-wheel drivetrain set. By using the differential on the axles, powerful yet weight-optimized drives can be realized. With the adjustment of the axle differential every application can be achieved with the right ratio.

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Magna to acquire Getrag for approximately €1.75B

July 16, 2015

Magna International Inc. signed an agreement to acquire the Getrag Group of Companies for approximately €1.75 billion (US$1.9 billion). This represents an enterprise value of approximately €2.45 billion (US$2.7 billion) less proportionate net debt and proportionate pension liabilities, which together are estimated to be approximately €700 million (US$762 million) at closing.

Getrag is the world’s largest (by volume) OEM-independent supplier of automotive transmissions, offering a range of transmission systems which include manual, automated-manual, dual-clutch, hybrid and other advanced systems.

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