• Jul 27th 2009 at 10:00AM
  • 15
Nissan and JATCO have just announced a new continuously variable transmission that features a wider ratio spread than any previous example of the type. The maximum spread from low to high in the past has been 6:1 but Nissan/JATCO have expanded that range to 7.3:1 facilitating better fuel efficiency. Since this is a friction belt type CVT, expanding the ratio spread can normally be problematic because of the physical limitations of bending the steel belt around the pulleys.

However, the automaker and transmissions builder have developed a novel solution that essentially creates a hybrid transmission. It's not a transmission that transfers electrical and mechanical power, however. Rather, it's a combination belt CVT and conventional geared transmission. A small auxiliary gear-set is added to the CVT to provide extra range to the ratios. In spite of the new hardware, Nissan says this new unit is 10 percent shorter in length and 13 percent lighter than other comparable CVT transmissions.

At this point, Nissan has not announced which vehicles will get the new unit. Check out the official press release after the jump.

[Source: Nissan]

Nissan and JATCO Develop Innovative, Next-Generation CVT

TOKYO (July 22)--Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., a long-time leader in the development and application of CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) technology, and its affiliate transmission supplier JATCO Ltd. today announced the joint development of a new generation of compact and lightweight CVTs.
Next-generation CVT

Next-generation CVT

The next-generation CVT design features an innovative structure combining conventional CVT belt operation with an auxiliary gearbox and a significantly increased gear ratio range. The new CVT is scheduled to appear in compact Nissan vehicles worldwide in the near future.

Major features of the new CVT are:

* World's highest transmission ratio for quicker starts and acceleration
The new structure raises the available transmission ratio from current 6.0:1 to 7.3:1, more than 20 percent higher than other CVTs, for enhanced responsiveness on starting and acceleration. The 7.3:1 ratio is higher than the average conventional 7-speed automatic transmissions used on high-displacement engine-equipped vehicles, making it among the world's highest ratios for production vehicle use*.
* Compact and lightweight
This revolutionary CVT configuration combines a belt-operated CVT with an auxiliary transmission, shortening its overall length by 10 percent and reducing weight by 13 percent compared to conventional CVTs in its class.
* Superb drivability
The next-generation CVT features the Adaptive Shift Control (ASC), which improves performance by automatically selecting the best ratio for startup, acceleration and uphill or downhill driving.

"Nissan believes the CVT has very good potential as a leading technology for raising the fuel efficiency of internal-combustion engine systems," said Shuichi Nishimura, corporate vice president, Nissan Powertrain Engineering Division. "Nissan first began applying CVT technology in 1991 and has been continuously evolving CVTs, engine-cooperative management and other systems, and expanding their use in Nissan vehicles. The need to improve fuel economy, with the resulting reductions in CO2 emissions motivated us to step up our efforts in the joint development with JATCO of this next-generation CVT."

JATCO, the world's leading CVT manufacturer, is the only company that offers a full range of CVTs for applications from mini-vehicles up to 3.5-liter V6-equipped cars. The company produces 43 percent of CVTs made globally.

"The revolutionary structure of the next-generation CVT, with its auxiliary transmission, not only raises the transmission ratio, reduces weight and adds fuel efficiency, its compact design also expands its applicability to a broader range of vehicles," said Yo Usuba, vice president, JATCO. "We believe it is an excellent choice for automakers seeking to raise the fuel efficiency of their smaller cars."

Based on the mid-term environmental program "Nissan Green Program 2010," Nissan and JATCO have achieved sales of 1 million CVT-equipped vehicles, as well as introducing 7-speed automatic transmissions to improve fuel efficiency. The companies will continue to introduce effective technologies and products into the market in pursuit of a sustainable mobility society.

* Excluding DCTs and manual transmissions.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Please see www.beaverauto.com and you will understand that CVTs are needed now as never before. The point is, that with descrete ratios transmissions the engine can't work in optimum point of engine performance map. It is only possible with huge number of ratios (not infinite) that CVTs can deliver. I hope Jatco is using power split, their conversion range 7.3 (with slight overlap) indicates that they do. I also hope, their ASC keeps the engine working point on optimum efficiency curve of the engine.
      In my view, Nissan-Jatco are going in the right direction.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sounds like a similar set-up to my mountain bike and its 27-speed torque converter.... Except on this on the back gears are a cone...

      Good luck selling it to the public. I for one am not a huge fan of the aural experience of the CVTs...
      • 6 Years Ago
      And, as a pre-emptive, I don't know what the modified torque is (since CVTs and dyno's don't work well together) so I just threw the stock out there.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Damn reply option...not working....argh! (head explodes).
      • 6 Years Ago
      When they come out with one that can handle more than 10 lb-ft of torque, i'll be interested.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @cougs: Or 6.0-6.3 sec, but who is counting?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Wait...because engines have wide bands of power we don't need more gear ratios anymore?
        That's a great idea if you wanted to spend $300 on gasoline every month, but I think the rest of us realize that if the engine can output a lot of power throughout the rev range then it actually makes a lot more sense to keep your engine humming at 3000RPM and letting the CVT change the ratios for speed than to rev your engine to redline.
        If it's making the same power at 4000 and 6000RPM then a sane person would actually be arguing for CVTs and not against them since the engine still burns more gas at 6000RPM since it's burning more gas just to get it to rev faster.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ Karan

        You are correct - from a torque perspective a diesel option is currently a no go (not from the ability to handle the power, but the ability to handle it for the life of a warranty or extended warranty). There was some toying with the idea of having a manual or 6-/7- speed auto for the 2011 model year, but that is up in the air dependent on a lot of factors.
        • 6 Years Ago
        nice! you should be interested now then since they currently have 2 CVTs..one for their 4 cylinder range which has ~175 ft-lb of torque and one for their 6 cyl with ~260 ft-lb of tq
        • 6 Years Ago
        My 2009 Maxima can handle around 261 lb-ft at 6600 rpms from 3mph to whenever I lift and will do 0-60 in about 5 seconds...
        • 6 Years Ago
        See the new A5 sportback. Multitronic with 2.7 V6 diesel, 295ft-lbs

        There is no point to CVTs anymore. Engines have wide areas of 90% of maximum power. http://gallery.audiworld.com/gallery/album372/A4070141_medium

        All they are trying to do is extend the clock for a few more years, by trying to get the widest ratio spread. (lets see what Hyundai's 8 speed auto does)

        7.3:1 is good ratio spread, the same as the ZF 7 speed automatic (no torque converter) that was stillborn.
        Since they are comparing it to the CVT's with 6:1 ratio spread, we know this isn't for the large vehicles (vq35)
        Hopefully for 'medium' vehicles.

        I want the VQ25hr V6 in the Altima with this transmission.
        • 6 Years Ago
        i should have said - when they make them to handle well above 300 lb ft. don't get me wrong, 260 is great, but if you could drop a diesel in there with 300 lb-ft i'm sure you could fly. Not saying they're weak, i'm saying that if they can improve on that number, there's a lot more potential. ;)
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wouldn't it be awesome if it allowed users to program custom gear ratios?
      Yes, no automaker would ever do this due to warranty and safety issues but the potential is definitely there for the tuning market.
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