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Automakers hope to save millions of dollars with joint development

Ford and General Motors have announced that they have teamed up to jointly develop a new generation of advanced 9- and 10-speed transmissions that will be used in cars, crossovers, SUVs, and trucks.
The automakers say that the new transmissions will increase both performance and fuel economy. Engineering and development work for the transmissions is currently underway.

“Engineering teams from GM and Ford have already started initial design work on these new transmissions,” said Jim Lanzon, GM vice president of global transmission engineering. “We expect these new transmissions to raise the standard of technology, performance and quality for our customers while helping drive fuel economy improvements into both companies' future product portfolios.”

Automakers need every edge they can get to meet the looming federal CAFE guidelines set to go into effect over the next several years. With a greater number of gear ratios available in the transmission, the engine can operate at more efficient RPMs, which in turn leads to improved fuel economy.
Some industry analysts believe that a nine-speed automatic transmission could increase fuel economy by five to ten percent compared to the same vehicle using a six-speed transmission.
The two companies have collaborated on transmission technology in the past. Ford and GM previously collaborated to build a six-speed transmission for front-wheel drive cars. Ford currently uses the six-speed transmission and vehicle such as the Fusion and Edge. GM uses the transmission in the Malibu and Cruze among others.
Chrysler is currently using an eight-speed automatic transmission in some of its automobiles, including its popular line of trucks.

Source: GM

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RE: Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
By FITCamaro on 4/15/2013 10:02:17 AM , Rating: 3
You know at this number of gear ratios, I almost see the value of trying to create a CVT that can handle real loads.

RE: Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
By ltfields on 4/15/2013 10:27:30 AM , Rating: 2
I was always a bit curious about the pros and cons of CVT versus traditional automatic transmissions, and other than complexity and maybe some issues with heavy loads, it didn't seem like there would be a case for regular transmissions anymore. I'd love to know people's arguments one way or the other...

RE: Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
By GulWestfale on 4/15/2013 10:51:04 AM , Rating: 1
audi offers a CVT (multitronic) in some of its models, including versions of the A4, A6, A7, and A8 capable of handling loads of up to 400NM. wouldn't it make more sense to develop a stronger version of such a CVT than to develop a conventional automatic with a ridiculous number of gears?

RE: Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
By fteoath64 on 4/16/2013 8:47:59 AM , Rating: 1
The big problem with CVT is that it cannot handle high loads and it wears out after some time (ie unreliable compared to traditional manual or automatic). I think after 4-5 years the tranny needs a serious overhaul that will cost a fair bit. Unlike manual trannies that lasts for 15 years or more just clutch needs changing every 3-4 years.

More R&D is needed for CVTs that would be strong enough to last and cheap enough to be usable in all ranges of cars. This magic point has yet to be met. Audi's multitronic is one of the nicest with cone based rollers but it is limited to I think 500HP and 400NM torque. Turbo cars easily exceed this rating. CVT when used are most efficient provided electronics are clever enough to "shift" the dynamic ratios correctly for load. One would expect using CVT with electric motors would be a great thing.
Having more ratios (ie 10 gears) and shifting between them are just the way of emulating CVT to conserve power.

By zephyrprime on 4/16/2013 5:33:46 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah but electric motors can adjust torque by using a variable number of rotors.

By grant3 on 4/17/2013 1:37:33 AM , Rating: 4
Not true at all. For example, Nissan's first generation CVTs shipped in '03 with 10-year warranties. I have seen no complaints of abnormal repairs needed. Most drivers don't even need to replace the lubricant during that 10 years.

As for limited to "only" 500hp... how many people drive cars that are more powerful that? Let's solve the issue for the other 99% first...

Personally, after owning a CVT vehicle for 2 years (murano) I love the power delivery and loathe to return to anything with gears.

RE: Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
By BRB29 on 4/15/2013 11:27:18 AM , Rating: 2
CVT actually cost less to make than traditional auto transmissions. The premium we're all paying is the front load of R&D cost. In time it will get cheaper. There's cars that have them as standard already.

You won't see CVT in trucks for a long time simply because gears are much stronger than belts. Eventually, we will see CVT in trucks but probably will never see it in any heavy duty applications.

For regular cars, CVT is cheaper, fuel efficient, lighter, and possibly faster(if it is tuned for it). CVTs are so slow because it was tuned for efficiency and was not built for high performance.

Personally, I like gears over CVT. I prefer to drive a manual on the weekend and swap my own gears.

RE: Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
By tastyratz on 4/15/2013 11:42:57 AM , Rating: 2
And so is the fault of CVT. What surprises me however is how belt reliant we are. A specially made toothed chain and helically ground worm gears could make a strong CVT if they could get it right... but as long as it relies on a belt we will see CVT problems.

By BRB29 on 4/15/2013 1:31:30 PM , Rating: 2
Because the cost would be high initially and no one would buy it. They would have to put it in premium vehicles but those buyers don't care much for mpg. They won't usually buy a CVT vehicle unless it is the current hippest hybrid/EV

By Mint on 4/16/2013 5:40:58 AM , Rating: 2
You can't use teeth in a CVT, as there will always be a discontinuity somewhere. Worm gears have metal to metal sliding and probably even worse for reliability than a metal belt.

There are CVTs without belts. Nissan has what they call the Extroid CVT that uses rollers. It's touted as a high torque solution.

By Samus on 4/15/2013 2:05:32 PM , Rating: 2
Ford and GM have had an excellent relationship joint-developing transmissions and drive-train components. GM has stronger transmission engineering and Ford has stronger differential and rear-end engineering, and the companies have recently (circa 2006) begun sharing technologies to better compete with the Japanese (which I should add Ford also works closely with for hybrid drive-trains and motors)

Overall the industry is very harmonious compared to the technology industry where everybody is at each others throats.

RE: Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
By Sazabi19 on 4/15/2013 2:31:32 PM , Rating: 3
I was thinking the same thing as I read this article. Provided we keep adding gears why not just let it vary the whole time to make it more efficient. My '11 Nissan Rogue has a CVT and it seems fine enough. About 180hp, while not great, gets my AWD vehicle moving adequately. I do have to admit though, it does whine a lot at anything past 2.5k rmps.

By inperfectdarkness on 4/15/2013 4:14:46 PM , Rating: 2
You will never see a CVT capable of handling 500+ whp. For that matter, I don't if any CVT has ever been certified to a towing capacity of anything larger than a bicycle.

I'm very happy to see 8+ speed transmissions. I feel that the time is long overdue, especially considering the wake of the oil crises during the 1970's. From my perspective, DCT's are the only other technology worth pursuing. CVT's and rowing-machines belong in the garbage bin.

RE: Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
By Howard on 4/15/2013 6:50:49 PM , Rating: 3
Well, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

Seriously though, CVTs work very well for certain applications. It's a stupid opinion that blindly disregards the benefits of any given technology in order to disparage it.

By ianweck on 4/16/2013 1:37:45 AM , Rating: 2
Well, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

Love it.

By grant3 on 4/17/2013 1:39:36 AM , Rating: 2
My '06 murano has a CVT and it's rated for towing up to 3,500 lbs.

That's a LOT of bicycles. A whole trailer full.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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