UK news sources are reporting that JLR is leading a research team that is working on developing a new 8 speed automatic transmission. The innovative new design intends to combine dual-clutch, hybrid and low-range elements all in one box.
The research team is a five-member group called Transmission Supply Chain Excellence for Next-Generation Dual-Clutch Technologies, or “Transcend.” The project is partly funded by public funds.
The transmission is designed with off road capability in mind. Plans call for a 20:1 ratio spread, possible because of the dual clutch configuration. That is more than double the ratio spread of conventional automatic transmissions. The result of that wide ratio gearing is that there is no need for a low range transfer box required. The lack of a separate transfer box results in lower vehicle weight, and less drive train friction.
On top of the weight savings derived by the lack of transfer box, the new transmission is 44 pounds lighter than similar 8 speed models. That makes it more compact and more efficient, resulting in as much as 10 percent improvement in fuel economy. Combined with the built-in hybrid capability, that could result in some pretty decent fuel economy figures.
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