Pathway for automotive transmissions: issues and opportunities

Current and near-future developments in automotive transmissions

The simultaneous emergence of four megatrends – electrification, automated driving, connectivity, and shared mobility are making it more difficult for manufacturers to forecast trends to guide them in investment and development.

This report examines current trends influencing the design of automotive transmissions for light duty vehicles and offers educated predictions of how these might play out by 2030.

Over the next several years, if not decades, the industry will likely continue to develop a wide variety of transmissions to support both traditional and electric powertrain technologies.

So what transmission development trends should companies focus on to be sure they remain competitive in the rapidly shifting global markets?

Five key strategic questions on the future of automotive transmissions

  1. What is the probability that the emissions and fuel economy regulations projected for 2025 through 2030 will remain as currently  envisioned? If they change, in what direction?
  2. Will the current trend of downspeeding to optimize the operating range of the ICE continue?
  3. How will electrification impact the development of the transmission?
  4. Will electrified powertrains demand significantly different development paths for hybrid and full EVs?
  5. What is the likelihood that a significant technical disruptor will be introduced in the next few years, significant enough and early enough to change the outcome predicted by the consensus view by 2030, all other factors remaining equal?

What this report offers

This report explores possible answers to these and other key questions, and attempts to assign probabilities to the outcomes. The purpose of these probabilities is not to attempt to predict the future so much as imagine the possibilities available, and attempt to do so with as much insight as is possible today. The focus of the report is understanding the trends behind current developments and extracting insights to help the reader plan and make sense of the rapidly changing environment for automotive transmission manufacturers and suppliers.

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What the experts say:

Dr Joerg Gindele, Senior Director of Core Engineering, Magna Powertrain
“Multispeed transmissions will still be required, even with the move towards electric vehicles. Non-hybrid combustion engines now have up to ten gears, and in mild and full hybrids it still makes sense to have seven speeds”

Prof. Dr. Leopold Mikulic, Managing Director of Mikulic Consulting
“By 2030, it’s likely that electrified CVTs and AMTs with integrated electric motors will gain market share in the more cost-sensitive volume segments”

Larry Nitz, Executive Director of Global Propulsion Systems, General Motors
“Combustion engines and multi-gear / CVT transmissions will retain significant market share, but by 2030 most will have significant connected and electrified content for regenerative braking, load shifting and EV driving”

Professor Dr.-Ing. Stefan Pischinger President & CEO, FEV Group
“ICE-only drives will still require multispeed transmissions in 2030. Multispeed transmissions will also gain market share in BEVs seeking to improve efficiencies across the operating range”

Carsten Weber, manager of Engine and Powertrain Systems, Ford
“The role of transmissions will change. Instead of being the element that adjusts torque and speed between engine and wheel, they will become intelligent performance distributors that manage energy consumption, emissions and driving behavior”

Oscar Sarmiento, Head of Engineering, Japan, Continental
“Electrification will further push CVT applications in vehicles with large comfort demands for megacities”

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction 5

1.1 The automotive industry’s assessment: Is there consensus on the future of the transmission? 5
1.2 Key questions uncertainties and trends 6
1.3 What do the opinion leaders have to say? 6
1.3.1 Magna’s Dr Joerg Gindele on opportunities for multi-speed transmissions 6
1.3.2 GWM’s Gerhard Henning and application-specific growth 7
1.3.3 Prof. Dr. Leopold Mikulic sees growth in CVTs and AMTs 7
1.3.4 GM’s Larry Nitz and connected transmissions 8
1.3.5 FEV’s Professor Dr.-Ing. Stefan Pischinger on multi-speed transmissions and CVTs 8
1.3.6 Ford’s Carsten Weber on intelligent performance and transmissions 9
1.3.7 BMW’s Peter Quintus on MT and M applications 9
1.3.8 Porsche‘s Gerd Bofinger and a transmissions portfolio 9
1.3.9 Nissan’s Toshihiro Hirai hybrid vision 9
1.3.10 Will any current transmissions disappear by 2030? 10
1.4 The industry’s best-fit consensus view 10

Chapter 2: Developing transmissions that cut emissions 12

2.1 What will global emissions regulations look like in 2030? 12
2.2 Global warming demands action: the cost of cleaner technologies 12
2.3 A US case study on the cost vs benefit of green technologies 13
2.4 Making every Joule count: optimising the ICE energy balance 15
2.5 Chapter 2 summary – forecasts and uncertainties 16

Chapter 3: Arguing the technology: From MTs to transmissions for automated and connected cars 18

3.1 Unlocking the potential of downspeeding with more ratios 18
3.2 When is enough too much: what is the optimum number of gears? 19
3.3 Is there life left in the manual transmission? 20
3.3.1 How a family of transmissions cuts costs 21
3.4 Automating the manual transmission 22
3.5 Applying novel e-clutch solutions to automate the MT 23
3.6 Can the AT beat the MT at the efficiency game? 25
3.7 Possibility of DCTs challenging the AT market in America? 26
3.8 CVTs can still improve ICEs’ efficiency 27
3.8.1 The technologies driving modern CVTs 28
3.9 Designing transmissions for connected and autonomous vehicles 29
3.9.1 Connectivity and smart shifting 30
3.10 Chapter 3 summary – forecasts and uncertainties 30

Chapter 4: Re-defining the transmission’s role in an electrified future 32

4.1 Full electric vehicle transmissions and efficiency 32
4.2 Is there a case to be made for unique micro and mild hybrid transmissions? 34
4.3 Who is doing what? Solutions for full hybrid EV transmissions 35
4.4 Chapter 4 – forecasts and uncertainties 37

Chapter 5: OEMs place their bets on future trends 39

5.1 Collaboration gives two US companies the best of both worlds heading to 2030 39
5.1.1 GM’s transmission plans 39
5.1.2 Ford’s transmission strategy 41
5.2 BMW adopts different approaches to efficiency and driver experience 42
5.2.1 Fine-tuning the DCT 44
5.2.2 BMW’s high performance 8G45 AT 46
5.3 Toyota’s TNGA platform and the future of the company’s transmissions 47
5.4 Honda’s compact, high performing 10 speed transverse AT 48
5.5 Hyundai’s Smartstream 8AT focuses on efficiency and fuel economy 52
5.6 New technologies demand unique solutions: Nissan’s variable compression engine and Jatco’s CVT8 56
5.7 What does Chrysler’s first DHT reveal about the company’s plans for transmissions in an electrified future? 59
5.7.1 An ICE, two motors and four driving operations define the eFlite DHT 59
5.8 Chapter 5 summary – forecasts and uncertainties 62

Chapter 6: Transmissions for the Chinese market: A perspective on the challenges 64

6.1 Chinese drivers demand unique solutions 65
6.2 How will China’s NEV program impact transmission development? 65
6.3 Chapter 6 summary – forecasts and uncertainties 67

Chapter 7: What will the transmission market look like in 2030? 68

7.1 What impact will electrification have on the transmission market in 2030? 69
7.2 Global transmission sales by the numbers 70
7.3 Chapter 7 summary – forecasts and uncertainties 71

Chapter 8: New transmission technologies 73

8.1 Ricardo’s novel approach to replacing the MT 73
8.2 ZF’s AWD electrified drivetrain refines AMT gearshifts 77
8.3 Revolutionary CVTs set to make their mark by 2030 78
8.3.1 Beltless CVT cuts efficiency losses 79
8.3.2 An efficient CVT for EVs? 80
8.4 A modular hybrid transmission concept for AT, 48V, HEV and PHEV 83
8.4.1 Compact longitudinal hybrid concept 88
8.5 The key to 48-volt full-time EV lies with the transmission 89
8.6 Chapter 8 summary – forecasts and uncertainties 92

Chapter 9: Looking past 2030: The next 20 years of the transmission 94

9.1 The impact of electrification and the high road scenario on transmission development 95
9.2 Low road scenario – technology and electrification take a breather 95
9.3 Chapter 9 summary – forecasts and uncertainties 96

Addendum A: Low viscosity universal fluids as a solution for e-mobility applications 98
Transmission fluids already follow the path of least resistance to lower viscosities 98
Can a low viscosity universal transmission fluid dominate the market? 100

Addendum B: Handy facts about key transmission suppliers 103
Sources 103

Table of figures

Figure 1.1: These shifts in technology dictate the powertrain’s evolution 5
Figure 1.2: Breaking down the role of the transmission in future powertrain architectures 7
Figure 1.3: Which transmission will have disappeared from the global market in 15 years? 10
Figure 2.1: Major markets’ 2030 CO2 emissions regulations at a glance 12
Figure 2.2: This graph indicates manufacturers could afford the cost of lower CO2 emissions 13
Figure 2.3: A cost vs. benefit curve to guide investment in green technologies 14
Figure 2.4: This gasoline engine energy balance explains the need for more gears 15
Figure 3.1: New technologies demand increased ratio coverage 18
Figure 3.2: Technologically advanced powertrains thrive on more speeds 19
Figure 3.3: AMT functions that would never have been possible without an e-clutch 23
Figure 3.4: Selecting the level of automation is easy with an e-clutch 24
Figure 3.5: Is this EPA view of the US transmission market believable? 26
Figure 3.6: Improved CVTs are quietly increasing market share 27
Figure 4.1: Do OEMs electrification timeline reveal their transmission strategies? 32
Figure 4.2: Efficiency maps prove three is better than a single speed 33
Figure 4.3: IHS forecast DHTs will dominate by 2030 35
Figure 4.4: Should OEMs reconsider DHTs? 38
Figure 5.1: A quick guide to BMW group’s transverse transmissions 42
Figure 5.2: BMW’s transverse transmission strategy in numbers 43
Figure 5.3: BMW’s AGS adaptive transmission control 44
Figure 5.4: Customization of the Getrag 7DCT300 for BMW 45
Figure 5.5: The makings of a high-performance 8-speed AT 46
Figure 5.6: Cross-section shows ingenuity of Toyota’s UA80 design 47
Figure 5.7: Schematic of Honda’s rationale for the 10AT design 49
Figure 5.8: The ‘trick’ that produced a compact 10-speed AT 50
Figure 5.9: Key details of Honda’s new 10-speed 50
Figure 5.10: Comparing the 10AT’s efficiency to the opposition’s 8- and 9-speeds 51
Figure 5.11: How many gears can Honda’s 10AT skip shift? 51
Figure 5.12: Breakdown of the losses in an 8–speed AT 53
Figure 5.13: The inner workings of Hyundai’s multi-disc lockup clutch and 3-way convertor 53
Figure 5.14: Hyundai’s four steps to an efficient AT 54
Figure 5.15: Hyundai’s shift strategy 55
Figure 5.16: Accurate modelling highlights transmission errors and cuts NVH 55
Figure 5.17: Hyundai’s transmission lineup : implications for the future 56
Figure 5.18: Designing a novel CVT to compliment a VCR engine 57
Figure 5.19: Jatco’s solution to the standing-start acceleration challenge 57
Figure 5.20: These curves explain why lockup control holds the secret to smooth overtaking maneuvers 58
Figure 5.21: Compact, yet complex: Chrysler’s compact dual motor DHT 59
Figure 5.22: Flexible electric-only power flow using single or dual motor-drive 60
Figure 5.23: Reverse is electric-only in the Pacifica 60
Figure 5.24: The power flow shows the hybrid-drive with one motor and the ICE 61
Figure 5.25: Interesting power flow facilitates ICE stop-start operation 61
Figure 5.26: A detailed look at the one way clutch, key to controlling the power flow 62
Figure 6.1: The reasons Chinese consumers are not happy with their transmissions 64
Figure 6.2: In an uncertain Chinese market a flexible 8 Mode DHT could be a solution 66
Figure 7.1: This is why a homogenous consensus view is difficult: A map showing regional preferences 68
Figure 7.2: Global Electrification Trends: Time to rethink the EV market? 69
Figure 7.3: Technology determines the difference between the high and the low road in plugin sales in 2030 70
Figure 7.4: The winners and losers in global transmission sales 71
Figure 8.1: The dual transmission power-flow 74
Figure 8.2: Schematic of the dual transmission in action 75
Figure 8.3: Torque output versus shift times explains the smooth gear changes 76
Figure 8.4: A variator design that eliminates the belt-drive 79
Figure 8.5: From 75 to 95 percent – the impact of speed and load on electric motor efficiency 80
Figure 8.6: Varibox’s RADIALcvt design 82
Figure 8.7: A modular transmission design for all occasions 84
Figure 8.8: In this transmission simply adding modules creates unique solutions 85
Figure 8.9: Range of tractive force across modes 86
Figure 8.10: Modular transmission potential cost-savings 87
Figure 8.11: Future Hybrid-inspired longitudinal transmission 88
Figure 8.12: Novel transmission for a 48V fulltime EV 90
Figure 9.1: What does the picture look like after 2030 94
Figure A1: The lifeblood of the modern transmission: current requirements 98
Figure A2: Will a universal fluid ever provide acceptable friction control? 99
Figure A3: The case for novel universal electrified transmission fluids 100
Figure A4: Conductivity curves for conventional fluids and electrified transmission 101

Table of tables

Table 2.1: Summary of key emissions questions with probabilities of occurring 17
Table 3.1: The Indian market fuels the growing list of AMT equipped vehicles 22
Table 3.2: Summary of key questions for transmission-type market shares with probabilities of occurring 31
Table 4.1: Summary of key questions regarding the impact of electrification with probabilities of occurring 38
Table 5.1: Smart collaboration covers everything from the Camaro ZL1 to the F150 39
Table 5.2: A sign of the times: 75% of GM’s transmissions will have more than 9 speeds by 2021 41
Table 5.3: Specifications of Honda 10-speed 49
Table 5.4: Hyundai’s specifications demonstrate the flexible design 52
Table 5.5: Summary of key questions regarding current-trend disruptors with probabilities of occurring 63
Table 6.1: Summary of key questions regarding uncertainties in the Chinese transmission market with probabilities of occurring 67
Table 7.1: Summary of key questions regarding uncertainties of the key market drivers with probabilities of occurring 72
Table 8.1: Component ‘add and delete’ costs show promise for the dual transmission 77
Table 8.2: Comparisons of number of common parts 83
Table 8.3: Flexibility and performance across modular variants 84
Table 8.4: Shift elements for eight forward driving PH modes 89
Table 8.5: Specifications of a multi-speed 48V EV powertrain 92
Table 8.6: Summarized forecast and questions around future transmission technologies with probabilities of occurring 93
Table 9.1: Summary of key questions regarding uncertainties of key market drivers post 2030 with probabilities of occurring 97
Table A1: Arguments for and against universal and dedicated fluids 101

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Author: Peter Els
Publisher: Autelligence
Published: October 2018
Pages: 109
Edition: 1st
Format: PDF

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Chief Executive Officers, Marketing Directors, Business and Sales Development executives, Product and Project management, Purchasing and Technical Directors that need a powerful third party perspective and overview of the trends and issues in their sector and the potential ramifications for their business.

Author of this report: Peter Els

Peter Els has been involved in the automotive industry since 1979 when he joined Nissan South Africa’s product development team as an engineer. His later professional career was spent in engineering positions at OEM’s such as Daimler Chrysler, Fiat, Toyota, Nissan and Beijing Automotive Works. He’s also been technical sales and export manager at Robert Bosch South Africa, where rotating equipment and electronic control units were developed for local and international OEMs. After years in an industry driven by information gathering and communication Peter began writing technical reports and articles on various aspects of the industry and the cars it produces. Since then he has produced a broad spectrum of automotive analysis work on technology and the automotive industry, for several publishers focusing on the automotive industry.

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