Chrysler Readies Nine-Speed Auto Transmissions to Cut Fuel Consumption
August 1, 2012 9:21 AM
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The Chrysler 300 will be a recipient of the new 9-speed automatic transmission.
A 16% improvement in fuel efficiency is expected from nine-speed transmission
Automakers are pulling out all the stops and looking to squeeze every single mile per gallon out of their automobiles by any means necessary. Automakers are looking at more
fuel-efficient engines with smaller displacements
, but they're also looking at
reducing the weight of vehicles
increasing the number of forward gears
used in car/truck transmissions.
Adding forward gears
to a transmission makes a lot of sense because the slower the engine spins, the less fuel it consumes. In years past automatic transmissions used in vehicles commonly had four or five forward gears. More recent vehicles are moving up to six-speed and in some cases even eight-speed automatic transmissions in luxury vehicles. Chrysler is eyeing even more gears inside with nine-speed gearboxes for more mainstream vehicles.
According to Mircea Gradu, vice president transmission powertrain driveline engineering, Chrysler will roll out its first nine-speed transmission by the first half of 2013. “I’m convinced that, sooner or later, others will come up with similar solutions,” Gradu said in an interview from his office in Auburn Hills, Michigan, where Chrysler is based. “Hopefully, the time will be as long as possible until they catch up with the technology.”
Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne believes that the automaker and its various brands will be able to meet looming fuel-efficiency standards by using technology that improves traditional gasoline engines combined with better transmissions rather than moving to plug-in hybrids and pure electric vehicles.
will reach 54.5 mpg by 2025.
Michael Omotoso, a powertrain analyst at LMC Automotive, said, "They’re [Chrysler] doing basically the bare minimum to satisfy government regulations. Their strategy is to meet the standards with minimum investment.”
reports that the nine-speed transmission Chrysler is developing could boost fuel economy of certain models by as much as 16%. Chrysler has already scored a 15% boost in the highway fuel economy of the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger by adding an eight-speed automatic transmission.
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8/1/2012 11:37:13 AM
Advanced shouldn't always equal "more complicated," though.
There is a certain elegance in mechanical design that rests in simplicity of operation and repetitive action. The more factors you add into the system, the greater the potential for failure and it isn't a linear relationship.
Anyone can design something complicated. However, it takes a true genius to design something to do a complicated task with an utterly simple design and mechanics--and in less steps.
I know American cars have made huge improvements in the last decade but I still worry about the tainted past that they have when it comes to upping the ante. This holds especially true for a company like Chrysler which... is affiliated with Fiat, who doesn't have that great of a reputation.
8/2/2012 6:27:37 PM
Advanced shouldn't always equal "more complicated," though.
And sometimes things are just complicated and that's the way it is. And then sometimes things just SEEM complicated because we don't understand it. DCTs, for example, take existing technology, manual transmissions, and adds a layer of electronics to it. Quite frankly it's still the gearbox, clutch, TO we all know and love with a more precise shifting and clutching algorithm added to it. A DCT is still a mostly mechanical device. I deal with things like this daily with people (I'm in IT). Adding a simple computer (and transmission computers are simple) does not complexity make. Adding another set of gears in a conventional torque converter automatic does not complexity make. You know what's complex? The theories centering around time and space.
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