[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.]
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.
Renault-Nissan and Daimler expand scope of collaboration with two projects for fuel-efficient powertrains: engine and transmission
September 28, 2012
The Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler are collaborating on two new projects—an engine and a transmission— to accelerate development of fuel-efficient powertrains. Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn and Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche confirmed the new projects Friday in an annual media update about the Franco-Japanese-German partnership. (Earlier post.)
The new engine project is a jointly developed 4-cylinder gasoline engine family co-led by Renault and Daimler. The direct-injection turbocharged engine will feature advanced technology in a compact package. It targets low emissions as well as a significant improvement in fuel economy.
Getrag introduces new 7-speed dual clutch and derivative hybrid transmissions; applications from mild- to plug-in hybrids
September 26, 2012
|Getrag PowerShift Transmission 7DCT300. Click to enlarge.|
At its fifth biennial Drivetrain Forum in Cologne, Getrag presented the seven-speed dual clutch transmission Getrag Powershift 7DCT300 and a hybrid derivative, the Getrag Hybrid Drive 7HDT300. The company said that the new transmissions complete its product portfolio to provide total coverage in terms of torque output and application size.
The transmission is designed as a product for the global market with a consistent common-part strategy. The main functional elements such as dual clutch, gearshift, actuators, control unit and synchronization are designed for various applications as common parts. The common-part strategy makes it possible for Getrag to implement all customer versions on only one production line and therefore to react quickly and efficiently to market requirements.
Toyota provides update on status of green car technology, future plans; 21 new hybrid models, new gasoline and diesel engines, transmissions, EV and fuel cell stack
September 25, 2012
|The new EQ EV offers power consumption of 104 Wh/km. Li-ion batteries are from Panasonic. Click to enlarge.|
In Japan, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) outlined the progress of development of its green technologies as well as its vehicle deployment plans through 2015. Overall, the company says, it intends to continue to work to conserve energy by improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions, and by diversifying fuel sources by encouraging the use of electricity, hydrogen and other alternative energies.
TMC plans to launch 21 new hybrid vehicles models—consisting of additional (new) models and fully redesigned existing models—from now until the end of 2015. In the area of energy conservation, TMC has developed a new gasoline engine that achieves a maximum 38.5% thermal efficiency for application in hybrids; a high-performance clean diesel engine and a high efficiency transmission. Toyota’s EQ EV will deliver electric power consumption of 104 Wh/km.
Oerlikon Graziano’s new prototype eDCT transmission for EVs
September 24, 2012
|The second-generation eDCT is targeting A/B class cars. Click to enlarge.|
Transmission specialist Oerlikon Graziano SpA presented more detail on its prototype eDCT dual-clutch-type transmission for electric vehicles (earlier post) at the first CTI Symposium China, in Shanghai. The clutch-less and synchronizer-less eDCT uses the principles of dual clutch transmissions (DCTs) to provide seamless shifting and up to a 15% improvement in vehicle efficiency.
The four-speed transmission uses two input shafts, each driven by its own electric motor—i.e., the concept is similar to that of a DCT but uses two motors in place of the twin clutches. One motor drives a shaft that carries first and third gears, the other drives a shaft carrying second and fourth. This allows pre-selection of the next gear before the previous one has been disengaged, using the two motors to synchronize shaft speeds so that no synchronizers are needed.
BMW applying predictive driving technology to increase fuel savings
September 17, 2012
At the same Innovation Day 2012: Efficient Dynamics event at which it introduced its new EfficientDynamics engine family (earlier post), BMW also discussed its approach to Predictive Power Management as an element in its toolkit for fuel savings.
With the aid of navigation-based information, the transmission control and the Foresight Assistant are able to chart the course of the road and the profile of the route, with its hills and descents, as well as the speed limits, and to take these into account for gear selection and vehicle deceleration. Even the turning radius is known to the system before the driver reaches the bend in the road.
Allison Transmission and Dana Holding license rights to NuVinci CVP technology from Fallbrook; to cooperate on engineering, manufacturing of next-gen transmissions
September 13, 2012
Allison Transmission Holdings Inc., Dana Holding Corporation have formed separate strategic relationships with Fallbrook Technologies Inc. to develop, manufacture, and commercialize high-efficiency transmissions for passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, and off-highway equipment. These next-generation transmissions will be designed to increase fuel efficiency, reduce emissions, and improve overall vehicle performance.
Under the partnerships, Fallbrook will license its NuVinci continuously variable planetary (CVP) technology (earlier post)—which enables designers to reduce the complexity of transmissions, superchargers (earlier post), and other powertrain systems and allows the engine to operate at more efficient speeds—to Allison and Dana.
Volvo Trucks launches new FH heavy-duty truck; I-Torque and I-See cut fuel consumption by up to 10%
September 06, 2012
|The I-Torque driveline combines the new I-Shift 2 gearbox with a D13 Euro 6 engine. Click to enlarge.|
Volvo Trucks has launched a new version of the FH, its flagship heavy-duty truck model for almost 20 years. The FH is critically important to Volvo, accounting for more than 60% of total sales. Since the launch of a new version of the Volvo FH in 1993, more than 650,000 units have been sold.
The new Volvo FH, developed over the past five years, features new solutions for fuel efficiency with the new I-Torque driveline. The new truck also features a new safety cage and new warning systems, and the cab is now up to one cubic meter bigger. Both the driver’s environment and the relaxation area have been optimized to function in the best possible way, according to the company.
New Detroit DT12 transmission contributes to enhanced fuel efficiency and performance for heavy-duty trucks
August 10, 2012
|Cutaway of the DT12. Click to enlarge.|
Detroit Diesel Corporation, a Daimler company, is showcasing its DT12 automated manual transmission for heavy duty trucks. Part of the Detroit complete powertrain offering, the DT12 combines the operational ease of an automatic with the efficiency of a manual transmission, resulting in enhanced fuel economy, vehicle performance and safety.
The Detroit DT12 is a 12-speed, non-synchronized transmission with shorter gear steps, and was designed with a number of efficiency features to achieve optimal fuel economy. Adding to the transmission’s overall economy is its lightweight design, which offers additional payload because of its aluminum housing and single counter shaft. Available in the Freightliner Cascadia, the DT12 maximizes fuel efficiency for line-haul/long haul operations.
Ford and suppliers investing $220M to produce new HF35 hybrid transmission and others at Van Dyke plant
August 02, 2012
|HF35 architecture. Click to enlarge.|
Ford and suppliers are investing $220 million to transform Van Dyke Transmission into a modern operation capable of producing Ford’s new hybrid transmission—HF35—as well as other fuel-efficient transmissions. HF35 will be used in five electrified vehicles being introduced this year: C-MAX Hybrid; C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid; Fusion Hybrid; Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid; and the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. Ford developed the HF35 supported in part by a grant from the US Department of Energy (DOE).
The HF35, which incorporates two electric motors, is Ford’s third-generation powersplit transaxle, and the first manufactured internally; previously, hybrid transmission production was handled by a supplier in Japan. By bringing the development work in-house, Ford reduced development costs 20%. Major components of the HF35 include:
ETI announces £2.5M lower drivetrain HDV efficiency project
July 27, 2012
The UK Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has launched a three-year, £2.5-million (US$3.9-million) project to improve the efficiency of Heavy Duty Vehicles (HDV) by cutting the amount of parasitic losses in the lower drivetrain system by 50%. The ETI is a public-private partnership between global energy and engineering companies—BP, Caterpillar, EDF, E.ON, Rolls-Royce and Shell—and the UK Government.
Parasitic losses caused by the churning of the lubricating oil and component friction in HDVs and off-road vehicle drivetrains can account for more than 10% of overall vehicle energy losses. This project will look to improve the overall system design, with a synergistic focus on gears, bearings, surface treatments, lubricant flow and lubricant composition.
Advanced synchronizers from Oerlikon Graziano provide fuel savings and easier gear shifting on heavy trucks
July 13, 2012
|New generation synchronizers from Oerlikon Graziano featuring integrated activation system with optimized clearances to give smoother shifting and reduce drag. Click to enlarge.|
Oerlikon Graziano has developed a family of advanced synchronizers for heavy-duty truck transmissions. The first application of the technology, on new 9-speed and 14-speed premium gearboxes, has contributed to transmission efficiency improvement, helping to fuel saving and emission reduction.
The new synchronizers save fuel in two ways: by optimizing the shift to minimize torque interruption and by reducing steady-state drag torque in the transmission. They combine the high durability and high performance of Oerlikon Graziano’s existing Long Life synchronizers with a new internal activation system, the use of optimized clearances and lubricant paths for higher efficiency.
First application of ZF 7-speed manual transmission for passenger cars; standard automatic stop-start system
May 11, 2012
|The 7-speed manual transmission is based on the 7-speed double-clutch transmission. Click to enlarge.|
ZF Friedrichshafen AG is supplying a 7-speed manual transmission (7MT) for Porsche’s new 911 models, marking the first manual transmission with 7 speeds available for passenger cars. The transmission design is based on ZF’s 7-speed double clutch transmission (7DT).
The seventh-generation Porsche 911 Carrera/Carrera S, which was presented at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, reaches its top speed in sixth speed (gear ratio 0.88), while the seventh speed, with its high gear ratio (0.71), is utilized to help save fuel. While based on the 7-speed double-clutch gearbox, the ratios of the third and seventh gears have been adjusted for enhanced manual gear changing: 1.55 vs. 1.65 for third gear in the 7MT vs. the 7DT, and 0.71 vs 0.62 for 7th. The high efficiency and optimized weight of the 7MT also contributes to the overall fuel economy.
Audi A3 launching with new 4-cylinder engines; cylinder-on-demand, supplementary indirect injection, start-stop and modular efficiency technologies
May 06, 2012
|1.4 TFSI with cylinder on demand technology. Click to enlarge.|
When the new A3 is launched (earlier post), Audi will be offering one TDI and two TFSI engines, with a 1.4L TFSI with cylinder-on-demand to follow. The initial three four-cylinder engines all make their appearance as new developments. Their engine displacements range from 1.4 to 2.0 liters and their power from 90 kW (122 hp) to 132 kW (180 hp).
Also playing a large role are technologies from the Audi modular efficiency platform. The start-stop system utilizes a new glass mat battery and reduces fuel consumption by up to 0.3 liters (0.11 US gallons) per 100 km (62 miles).The thermal management system ensures that the engine comes up to its operating temperature rapidly after a cold start—this shortens the phase of elevated friction losses due to viscous oil, and the car’s interior warms up faster as well.