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.

In a major 60-page update for May 2019, the report now also assesses topics such as the hidden costs of global warming as it relates to automotive transmissions, the future of diesel in Europe, the switch from NEDC to WLTP and related fallout, how the US addresses global warming, as well as recent developments in China, all of it underpinned by original commentary and forecasts. 

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 7

1.1 The automotive industry’s assessment: Is there consensus on the future of the transmission? 7
1.2 Key questions uncertainties and trends 8
1.3 What do the opinion leaders have to say? 8
1.3.1 Magna’s Dr Joerg Gindele on opportunities for multi-speed transmissions 8
1.3.2 GWM’s Gerhard Henning and application-specific growth 9
1.3.3 Prof. Dr. Leopold Mikulic sees growth in CVTs and AMTs 9
1.3.4 GM’s Larry Nitz and connected transmissions 10
1.3.5 FEV’s Professor Dr.-Ing. Stefan Pischinger on multi-speed transmissions and CVTs 10
1.3.6 Ford’s Carsten Weber on intelligent performance and transmissions 11
1.3.7 BMW’s Peter Quintus on MT and M applications 11
1.3.8 Porsche‘s Gerd Bofinger and a transmissions portfolio 11
1.3.9 Nissan’s Toshihiro Hirai hybrid vision 11
1.3.10 Will any current transmissions disappear by 2030? 12
1.4 The industry’s best-fit consensus view 12

Chapter 2: Developing transmissions that cut emissions 14

2.1 What will global emissions regulations look like in 2030? 14
2.2 Global warming demands action: the cost of cleaner technologies 14
2.3 A US case study on the cost vs benefit of green technologies 15
2.4 Making every Joule count: optimising the ICE energy balance 17
2.5 Chapter 2 summary – forecasts and uncertainties 18

Chapter 3: Arguing the technology: From MTs to transmissions for automated and connected cars 20

3.1 Unlocking the potential of downspeeding with more ratios 20
3.2 When is enough too much: what is the optimum number of gears? 21
3.3 Is there life left in the manual transmission? 22
3.3.1 How a family of transmissions cuts costs 23
3.4 Automating the manual transmission 24
3.5 Applying novel e-clutch solutions to automate the MT 25
3.6 Can the AT beat the MT at the efficiency game? 27
3.7 Possibility of DCTs challenging the AT market in America? 28
3.8 CVTs can still improve ICEs’ efficiency 29
3.8.1 The technologies driving modern CVTs 30
3.9 Designing transmissions for connected and autonomous vehicles 31
3.9.1 Connectivity and smart shifting 32
3.10 Chapter 3 summary – forecasts and uncertainties 32

Chapter 4: Re-defining the transmission’s role in an electrified future 34

4.1 Full electric vehicle transmissions and efficiency 34
4.2 Is there a case to be made for unique micro and mild hybrid transmissions? 36
4.3 Who is doing what? Solutions for full hybrid EV transmissions 37
4.4 Chapter 4 – forecasts and uncertainties 39

Chapter 5: OEMs place their bets on future trends 41

5.1 Collaboration gives two US companies the best of both worlds heading to 2030 41
5.1.1 GM’s transmission plans 41
5.1.2 Ford’s transmission strategy 43
5.2 BMW adopts different approaches to efficiency and driver experience 44
5.2.1 Fine-tuning the DCT 46
5.2.2 BMW’s high performance 8G45 AT 48
5.3 Toyota’s TNGA platform and the future of the company’s transmissions 49
5.4 Honda’s compact, high performing 10 speed transverse AT 50
5.5 Hyundai’s Smartstream 8AT focuses on efficiency and fuel economy 54
5.6 New technologies demand unique solutions: Nissan’s variable compression engine and Jatco’s CVT8 58
5.7 What does Chrysler’s first DHT reveal about the company’s plans for transmissions in an electrified future? 61
5.7.1 An ICE, two motors and four driving operations define the eFlite DHT 61
5.8 Chapter 5 summary – forecasts and uncertainties 64

Chapter 6: Transmissions for the Chinese market: A perspective on the challenges 66

6.1 Chinese drivers demand unique solutions 67
6.2 How will China’s NEV program impact transmission development? 67
6.3 Chapter 6 summary – forecasts and uncertainties 69

Chapter 7: What will the transmission market look like in 2030? 70

7.1 What impact will electrification have on the transmission market in 2030? 71
7.2 Global transmission sales by the numbers 72
7.3 Chapter 7 summary – forecasts and uncertainties 73

Chapter 8: New transmission technologies 75

8.1 Ricardo’s novel approach to replacing the MT 75
8.2 ZF’s AWD electrified drivetrain refines AMT gearshifts 79
8.3 Revolutionary CVTs set to make their mark by 2030 80
8.3.1 Beltless CVT cuts efficiency losses 81
8.3.2 An efficient CVT for EVs? 82
8.4 A modular hybrid transmission concept for AT, 48V, HEV and PHEV 85
8.4.1 Compact longitudinal hybrid concept 90
8.5 The key to 48-volt full-time EV lies with the transmission 91
8.6 Chapter 8 summary – forecasts and uncertainties 94

Chapter 9: Looking past 2030: The next 20 years of the transmission 96

9.1 The impact of electrification and the high road scenario on transmission development 97
9.2 Low road scenario – technology and electrification take a breather 97
9.3 Chapter 9 summary – forecasts and uncertainties 98

Addendum A: Low viscosity universal fluids as a solution for e-mobility applications 100

Transmission fluids already follow the path of least resistance to lower viscosities 100
Can a low viscosity universal transmission fluid dominate the market? 102

Addendum B: The role of simulation in developing transmissions for important and untapped new markets 105

B1 Power to the people: Emerging economies are the industry’s only hope to grow sales 106
B1.1 India’s vehicle market shows unprecedented growth 106
B1.1.1 Factors supporting a perfect storm in India 107
B1.1.2 India’s engineers know a thing or two about cost effective engineering 108
B1.2 China takes a breather: Reasons for the slump and why sales will recover soon 108
B1.2.1 The details prove the market is far healthier than current sales indicate 109
B1.2.2 No need for concern, there is more growth to come 109
B1.3 Section B1 summary – forecasts and uncertainties 110
B2 The best transmission in the world is not American 111
B2.1 The best transmission in the world raises questions 114
B3 Simulate, analyze and optimize to capture new markets 115
B3.1 Simulating the silent world of the electrified drivetrain 116
B3.1.1 Defining the shake, rattle and roll of gears in mesh 116
B3.1.2 Simulating the impact of the electric machine 117
B3.1.3 How to select the right simulation tool to save time and money 117
B3.2 What part can AI play in transmission design? 119
B3.2.1 The better the data the better the solution 120
B3.2.2 Machine learning understands the value of multidimensional scaling 121
B3.2.3 Smart 3D CAD solutions relying on AI 123
B3.3 Section B3 summary – forecasts and uncertainties 123
B4 Predicting reliability of the transmission in the field 124
B4.1 New technologies’ impact on durability 125
B4.2 An innovative method to predict reliability in new applications and markets 125
B4.2.1 Determining the mission profile is key to predicting durability 126
B4.2.2 Defining the customer: Collecting data about real world driving 127
B4.2.3 Predicting a transmission’s durability only takes five steps 128
B4.2.4 Import, export and analyze in a simple GUI 131
B4.2.5 Predicting the durability of a transmission anywhere in the world 132
B4.3 Section B4 summary – forecasts and uncertainties 134
B5 Conclusion: Simulation as a means of reducing costs when exploring emerging markets 134

Addendum C: The world is hotter than we thought: The impact of new studies and emissions targets 136

C1 The hidden costs of global warming 136
C1.1 Will the latest UN report on climate-change force a rethink of emissions targets? 137
C1.2 Is it time we re-assess how we calculate the cost of emissions compliance? 139
C1.3 Section C1 summary – forecasts and uncertainties 141
C2 Revised EU emissions targets shake up the formula 141
C2.1 Is the Diesel finally dead in Europe? 143
C2.1.1 Germany’s costly plans to hang onto Diesels 144
C2.2 The switch from NEDC to WLTP creates havoc 146
C2.2.1 The WLTP forces several plugin hybrids out of the market 147
C2.3 Section C2 summary – forecasts and uncertainties 149
C3 America accepts global warming but chooses the low road 150
C3.1 America’s true cost of emissions 150
C3.1.1 The price Americans pay for global warming 151
C3.1.2 The Trump administration’s emissions savings 151
C3.2 Section C3 summary – forecasts and uncertainties 153
C4 China’s NEV program turns the region into an EV hotspot 154
C4.1 Section C4 summary – forecasts and uncertainties 155
C5 Conclusion: Where to from here? 156

Handy facts about key transmission suppliers 157

Sources 157

Table of figures

Figure 1.1: These shifts in technology dictate the powertrain’s evolution 7
Figure 1.2: Breaking down the role of the transmission in future powertrain architectures 9
Figure 1.3: Which transmission will have disappeared from the global market in 15 years? 12
Figure 2.1: Major markets’ 2030 CO2 emissions regulations at a glance 14
Figure 2.2: This graph indicates manufacturers could afford the cost of lower CO2 emissions 15
Figure 2.3: A cost vs. benefit curve to guide investment in green technologies 16
Figure 2.4: This gasoline engine energy balance explains the need for more gears 17
Figure 3.1: New technologies demand increased ratio coverage 20
Figure 3.2: Technologically advanced powertrains thrive on more speeds 21
Figure 3.3: AMT functions that would never have been possible without an e-clutch 25
Figure 3.4: Selecting the level of automation is easy with an e-clutch 26
Figure 3.5: Is this EPA view of the US transmission market believable? 28
Figure 3.6: Improved CVTs are quietly increasing market share 29
Figure 4.1: Do OEMs electrification timeline reveal their transmission strategies? 34
Figure 4.2: Efficiency maps prove three is better than a single speed 35
Figure 4.3: IHS forecast DHTs will dominate by 2030 37
Figure 4.4: Should OEMs reconsider DHTs? 40
Figure 5.1: A quick guide to BMW group’s transverse transmissions 44
Figure 5.2: BMW’s transverse transmission strategy in numbers 45
Figure 5.3: BMW’s AGS adaptive transmission control 46
Figure 5.4: Customization of the Getrag 7DCT300 for BMW 47
Figure 5.5: The makings of a high-performance 8-speed AT 48
Figure 5.6: Cross-section shows ingenuity of Toyota’s UA80 design 49
Figure 5.7: Schematic of Honda’s rationale for the 10AT design 51
Figure 5.8: The ‘trick’ that produced a compact 10-speed AT 52
Figure 5.9: Key details of Honda’s new 10-speed 52
Figure 5.10: Comparing the 10AT’s efficiency to the opposition’s 8- and 9-speeds 53
Figure 5.11: How many gears can Honda’s 10AT skip shift? 53
Figure 5.12: Breakdown of the losses in an 8–speed AT 55
Figure 5.13: The inner workings of Hyundai’s multi-disc lockup clutch and 3-way convertor 55
Figure 5.14: Hyundai’s four steps to an efficient AT 56
Figure 5.15: Hyundai’s shift strategy 57
Figure 5.16: Accurate modelling highlights transmission errors and cuts NVH 57
Figure 5.17: Hyundai’s transmission lineup : implications for the future 58
Figure 5.18: Designing a novel CVT to compliment a VCR engine 59
Figure 5.19: Jatco’s solution to the standing-start acceleration challenge 59
Figure 5.20: These curves explain why lockup control holds the secret to smooth overtaking maneuvers 60
Figure 5.21: Compact, yet complex: Chrysler’s compact dual motor DHT 61
Figure 5.22: Flexible electric-only power flow using single or dual motor-drive 62
Figure 5.23: Reverse is electric-only in the Pacifica 62
Figure 5.24: The power flow shows the hybrid-drive with one motor and the ICE 63
Figure 5.25: Interesting power flow facilitates ICE stop-start operation 63
Figure 5.26: A detailed look at the one way clutch, key to controlling the power flow 64
Figure 6.1: The reasons Chinese consumers are not happy with their transmissions 66
Figure 6.2: In an uncertain Chinese market a flexible 8 Mode DHT could be a solution 68
Figure 7.1: This is why a homogenous consensus view is difficult: A map showing regional preferences 70
Figure 7.2: Global Electrification Trends: Time to rethink the EV market? 71
Figure 7.3: Technology determines the difference between the high and the low road in plugin sales in 2030 72
Figure 7.4: The winners and losers in global transmission sales 73
Figure 8.1: The dual transmission power-flow 76
Figure 8.2: Schematic of the dual transmission in action 77
Figure 8.3: Torque output versus shift times explains the smooth gear changes 78
Figure 8.4: A variator design that eliminates the belt-drive 81
Figure 8.5: From 75 to 95 percent – the impact of speed and load on electric motor efficiency 82
Figure 8.6: Varibox’s RADIALcvt design 84
Figure 8.7: A modular transmission design for all occasions 86
Figure 8.8: In this transmission simply adding modules creates unique solutions 87
Figure 8.9: Range of tractive force across modes 88
Figure 8.10: Modular transmission potential cost-savings 89
Figure 8.11: Future Hybrid-inspired longitudinal transmission 90
Figure 8.12: Novel transmission for a 48V fulltime EV 92
Figure 9.1: What does the picture look like after 2030 96
Figure A1: The lifeblood of the modern transmission: current requirements 100
Figure A2: Will a universal fluid ever provide acceptable friction control? 101
Figure A3: The case for novel universal electrified transmission fluids 102
Figure A4: Conductivity curves for conventional fluids and electrified transmission 103
Figure B1.1: Traditional markets are stalling 105
Figure B1.2: No established market offers 50 percent growth over the next six years 107
Figure B1.3: Waiting in the wings: China’s next wave of buyers 110
Figure B2.1: A/Ts rule the market in China and just keep growing 112
Figure B2.2: Who produces what and how many in this burgeoning transmission market 112
Figure B2.3: The best of the best: But why do American ATs fare so badly? 114
Figure B3.1: Artificial Intelligence takes a transmission from concept to final design 119
Figure B3.2: Machine learning is smart at grouping results 120
Figure B3.3: Clustering helps the machine prioritize the results 121
Figure B3.4: Machine learning creates results humans can interpret 122
Figure B3.5: Finally the best fit solution emerges 122
Figure B3.6: A one in a billion solution pops up in 3D CAD 123
Figure B4.1: No one would have thought regenerative braking would do this to a transmission 125
Figure B4.2: Are you sure the transmission meets the company’s safety margins? 126
Figure B4.3: Analyzing a transmission’s reliability in five steps 129
Figure B4.4: Following the fatigue curve to reliability 129
Figure B4.5: So far and no further: Predicting the number of cycles to failure 130
Figure B4.6: Operate the transmission in this overtorque zone at your own peril 130
Figure B4.7: Cumulative damage due to overtorque is exponential 131
Figure B4.8: The picture tells the story: The GUI displays all the information on one screen 132
Figure B4.9: No need to ship a vehicle around the world, the software does it all 133
Figure B4.10: This tool even gives you a safety factor by region 133
Figure C1.1: The disastrous consequences of Global warming 137
Figure C1.2: The impact of GHG emissions on global warming 138
Figure C1.3: One degree at a time, GHG emissions are strangling the globe 139
Figure C1.4: Is the world sinking under the weight of CO2 emissions? 140
Figure C2.1: This is how the change from the NEDC to WLTP wiped out 350,000 sales 146
Figure C2.2: These WLTC tests may have killed the PHEV in Europe 147
Figure C3.1: Will America take the lead in CO2 emissions in 2030? 153

Table of tables

Table 2.1: Summary of key emissions questions with probabilities of occurring 19
Table 3.1: The Indian market fuels the growing list of AMT equipped vehicles 24
Table 3.2: Summary of key questions for transmission-type market shares with probabilities of occurring 33
Table 4.1: Summary of key questions regarding the impact of electrification with probabilities of occurring 40
Table 5.1: Smart collaboration covers everything from the Camaro ZL1 to the F150 41
Table 5.2: A sign of the times: 75% of GM’s transmissions will have more than 9 speeds by 2021 43
Table 5.3: Specifications of Honda 10-speed 51
Table 5.4: Hyundai’s specifications demonstrate the flexible design 54
Table 5.5: Summary of key questions regarding current-trend disruptors with probabilities of occurring 65
Table 6.1: Summary of key questions regarding uncertainties in the Chinese transmission market with probabilities of occurring 69
Table 7.1: Summary of key questions regarding uncertainties of the key market drivers with probabilities of occurring 74
Table 8.1: Component ‘add and delete’ costs show promise for the dual transmission 79
Table 8.2: Comparisons of number of common parts 85
Table 8.3: Flexibility and performance across modular variants 86
Table 8.4: Shift elements for eight forward driving PH modes 91
Table 8.5: Specifications of a multi-speed 48V EV powertrain 94
Table 8.6: Summarized forecast and questions around future transmission technologies with probabilities of occurring 95
Table 9.1: Summary of key questions regarding uncertainties of key market drivers post 2030 with probabilities of occurring 99
Table A1: Arguments for and against universal and dedicated fluids 103
Table B1.1: Follow the money: A new global economic order by 2050 106
Table B1.2: Summary of key questions regarding sustainable growth in E7 markets with probabilities assigned 111
Table B2.1: Not many markets could offer this growth 113
Table B2.2: This is what defines the best transmission in the world 113
Table B2.3: Summary of key questions regarding the best transmission competition with probabilities assigned 115
Table B3.1: Tools a transmission simulation toolbox should not be without 117
Table B3.2: Key questions around the use of simulation in transmission development, with probabilities assigned 124
Table B4.1: Without defining this driving cycle any transmission simulation will fail 127
Table B4.2: Recording these inputs forms the basis of wear and tear prediction 128
Table B4.3: Summary of key questions regarding durability simulation with probabilities assigned 134
Table C1.1: Summary of key questions regarding the impact of the IPCC report with probabilities assigned 141
Table C2.1: No matter how clean it is, the internal combustion engine isn’t welcome over here 143
Table C2.2: Summary of key questions regarding the impact of revised emissions targets with probabilities assigned 150
Table C3.1: Summary of key questions regarding America’s stance on GHGs with probabilities assigned 154
Table C4.1: Summary of key questions regarding China’s NEV program with probabilities assigned 155

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Author: Peter Els
Publisher: Autelligence
Published: May 2018
Pages: 166
Edition: 1st
Format: PDF

Quarterly Research Updates

The report’s purchase price includes quarterly research updates for a year to help you stay current. The updates cover all new developments in technology, regulation and outlook, and is distributed as an appendix to the existing report to existing and new customers.

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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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