2010 Ford Fusion HybridEnlarge Photo
Ford has announced that they’re joining the ranks of automakers producing an eight-speed transmission, and they’ve also announced production of an electronic continuously variable transmission (eCVT) for hybrid vehicles. Both transmissions are Ford-designed and Ford-built, unlike some transmission offerings from Ford today.
Ford already has the distinction of offering more six-speed gearboxes across their product mix than any other manufacturer, since nearly every product sold by the manufacturer comes with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. An eight-speed automatic will further boost fuel economy, while improving both performance and drivability.
Ford’s promoting their use of advanced technology on the eight-speed gearbox, which will utilize closed-loop control, “next-generation” clutch controls, an input torque sensor (enabling faster selection of an appropriate gear) and built-in actuators to precisely control hydraulic pressure. Ford promises more details on applications and specifications at a later date.
Perhaps more newsworthy is Ford’s development of an eCVT for hybrid vehicles, as it reinforces the automaker’s commitment to hybrid technology. Ford has spent some $135 million on the design, engineering and manufacturing of components for hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles over the past year, and will begin production of the new eCVT at their Van Dyke Transmission Plant later this year. By next spring, Ford expects to build more hybrid transmissions in North America than any other automaker or component supplier.
The new eCVT will replace a unit Ford previously sourced from Japan, and will offer ‘improved performance’ compared to the existing hybrid transmission. As with the eight-speed automatic, look for further detail on Ford’s eCVT to be forthcoming.