The Gear Wars of the Future

The Gear Wars of the Future

People are just settling down with seven-speed manual transmissions and eight-speed automatic gearboxes. These speeds have become the benchmark. Yet, at the Beijing Auto Show, there have been talks of more gears in the very near future. The car industry all over the world will soon be entering into gear wars in the future. Nine-speeds will have to be considered soon. There are signs already that Chrysler and Daimler will be uniting in this front to become trendsetters.

Chrysler is planning to launch the ZF-sourced nine-speed 9HP automatic transmission in few of its front-wheel drive cars. Mercedes has also announced that it will be giving a nine-speed transmission by early next year. Its nine-speed system, which is known as Neue Generation Stufenautomatik, with its high performance K9A and W9A variations, is likely to become standard early next year on many of its rear-wheel drive models. Leave aside Chrysler and Mercedes, many other rivals will join this gear war soon.

In the wake of its recent awards at the New York Motor Show, Mercedes Benz is flying high. The Mercedes Benz S250 CDI was given the World Green Car Award at the New York Motor Show. Mercedes is very confident and hopeful of its nine-speed gearbox which could be seen early in 2013.
There is news that Honda Motor Corporation is also busy working on a nine-speed automatic gearbox through ZF.

By throwing additional gears into the transmission, Honda is trying to improve the fuel efficiency and economy of the powertrain. It is currently working on a nine-speed transmission that has been developed by ZF, which stands for Zahnradfabrik who was the founder of the company which is based in Friedrichshafen in Germany. Honda plans to make this standard in a couple of years’ time. ZF is also collaborating with Chrysler.

ZF has pointed out that the transmission in the future is going to be more compact even with the extra gears and this will be mainly due to the usage of gears which are planetary as opposed to the conventional designs. The German 9HP transmission is usable in front-wheel or all-wheel drive systems and it can take up to 354 pound-feet of torque. This will improve the fuel economy of the car by about sixteen per cent.

ZF, the gearbox experts, have started giving out some details by stating how the 9HP transmission will enable the engine to run at 1900 rpm at optimal fuel usage as against 2600 rpm in a conventional six-speed gearbox model. ZF is doing its best to ensure that the nine-speed transmission will be able to adapt to several applications. The 9HP is also going to be capable of stop-start applications without the necessity of an extra oil pump.

All car makers have got their antennae up and are gearing with full armor to join this gear warfare. They are all eagerly waiting to jump at the first chance to start using the nine-speed gearbox. From the perspective of fuel economy, a sedan that gives thirty five miles per gallon on a highway will, after using a nine-speed transmission, be able to give forty one miles per gallon.

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