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More Gears = More MPGs? Advanced Transmissions Critical to Meet CAFE

The manual gearbox continues to fade away.

by on Oct.10, 2014

The new Land Rover Discovery Sport will turn to a 9-speed gearbox to help boost mileage.

While the wider user of turbocharging and direct injection have been credited with boosting U.S. fuel economy to record levels, automakers are also scoring big mileage gains by turning to advanced transmissions, according to a new report by the Environmental Protection Agency.

New automatics using seven, eight and even nine gears are quickly becoming the norm, rather than the exception, along with even more exotic technologies such as double-clutch transmissions. While it’s not a hard-and-fast rule, the more gears the more the MPGs.

Stay in Gear!

But the latest trends are likely not to be good news for fans of manual gearboxes which no longer can claim to deliver both better mileage and improved performance, noted Aaron Hula during a presentation on vehicle trends at the EPA vehicle test lab in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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Chrysler Going to an 8-Speed Gearbox

Licensed from ZF, maker will invest $300 million in Kokomo.

by on Jun.09, 2010

Like its competitors, Chrysler will adopt new, fuel-saving 8-speeds gearbox technology.

Chrysler Group LLC has announced plans to buy 8-speed transmissions from Germany’s ZF.

The automaker will initially import the gearboxes from Europe then begin production of its own at an updated plant in Indiana, saving, the maker says, more than 1,000 U.S. jobs.

The deal will give Chrysler, which is trying to rebuild its technology portfolio, access to an important enhancement to future products. The 8-speed transmission improves the fuel economy for vehicles equipped with gasoline engines while also giving the company bragging rights in a technology recently dominated by its European and Asian rivals.

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“As the U.S. auto industry continues its rebound, we see considerable growth opportunities within it – especially for next-generation vehicles, such as those at Chrysler Group that will use the 8HP 8-speed automatic,” says Hans-Georg Härter, ZF’s President and CEO.

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