General Motors is finalizing plans to develop a continuously variable transmission (CVT) in-house as it prepares for the upcoming 2025 CAFE requirements.
Wards Auto reports that GM will use this new CVT in a number of models by 2019. The transmission will likely be paired with new 3-cylinder and 4-cylinder engines that GM is releasing later this year. The automaker has yet to make a formal announcement, but admits it does have the ability.
“GM has unmatched transmission expertise and development resources and is capable of delivering additional CVTs if and when they’re needed,” Tom Read, GM’s powertrain representative, told WardsAuto.
The CVT is often used in hybrid vehicles to boost fuel economy and extend electric range. The unit tends to be more compact than a regular automatic transmission, which also lowers the weight and cost of the vehicle.
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“CVT especially comes into its own in urban stop-and-go traffic,” says Stefan Seiberth, the president of the Bosch Gasoline Systems division, where CVT belts are manufactured. “It can reduce fuel consumption by as much as 7 percent, since the engine is constantly kept at its most efficient operating point.”
These are still fairly uncommon in the U.S., accounting for only 12-percent of transmissions for the 2014 model year. For 2015, the Chevy Spark has an optional CVT that is built in Japan by Jatco. The 2015 Chevy City Express Van will only be available with a CVT, which will be built by Nissan. In other brands, current models of the Nissan Altima and Honda Accord Hybrid both feature a CVT.