Hybrid Supercar Gearbox Developed

Are you dreaming of a hybrid sports car? Hybrid power is progressively making its way towards sports cars and that dream could soon be reality.

Xtrac, a high performance sportscar and race car transmission specialist, has designed a hybridized automated manual transmission (H-AMT) it has designated as model 1010 H-AMT. This specialized transmission will allow future luxury supercars to meet the 95g/km CO2 emission requirement being introduced by European legislators in 2020.

Clive Woolmer general manager for Xtrac’s automotive and engineering business, together with principal engineer Chris Cholmeley, will present details of the new transmission this week at the 11th International CTi Symposium and Exhibition, which runs between Dec. 3 and 6 in Berlin.

The prototype-ready gearbox is aimed at vehicle manufacturers competing in the high-growth sector of premium luxury road cars, which includes limousines as well as exotics.

The 1010 H-AMT fits the same compact transmission envelope as the company’s 1007 gearbox with its high torque carrying capability and innovative transverse gear cluster orientation, as supplied to Pagani for the mid-engine Huayra supercar.

Xtrac believes its distinctive transverse transmission configuration lends itself particularly well to hybridization and offers a compelling solution to the supercar sector’s preference for retaining high power, multi cylinder engines while meeting 2020 emission targets.

Xtrac 60kW electric motor
The electric vehicle speed range has been set just below 95mph, covering most European maximum speed limits except for unrestricted German Autobahns, allowing torque infill up to 4th gear during high performance acceleration and in all gears up to the threshold speed during low speed driving when its desirable to keep the engine revs low, thus improving vehicle efficiency.

The term ‘torque infill’ relates to the application of additional torque through the transmission to the road wheels during the period of a gear change, where in a conventional transmission the torque is interrupted to allow the shift to complete.

Developed as an alternative to heavier and more complex dual clutch transmissions (DCTs), Xtrac says the 1010 H-AMT has a lower total parts count and overall mass when compared to a hybrid DCT by focusing on optimized packaging, weight reduction and cost efficiency.

For increased efficiency, the 7-speed gearbox offers multiple modes of internal combustion engine and electric motor-generator operation and an overall ratio spread of almost 6:1, which is higher than many other transmissions in this sector.

The overall gear ratio selected provides a balance between the amount of torque available from the electric motor and the vehicle speed range available before the EV mode is disengaged at higher vehicle speeds.

The size of the electric motor and the resulting gearing between the electric motor and the road wheels delivers a maximum torque infill during gearshifts of up to 60 percent of the traction limit for a typical supercar.

Ability to provide torque to the road wheels independent of the engine also reduces the energy required to be absorbed by the main drive clutch during the vehicle launch pull away condition, potentially leading to clutch downsizing and a reduction in drive plate and flywheel inertia as an added benefit of hybridizing an AMT.

A wet weight of 168kg for the 1010 hybrid transmission comprises 120kg for the gearbox and 48kg for the motor and hybrid components. This total mass offers up to 20 per cent weight saving over a comparably sized hybridized DCT.

The 1010 modes of operation include a pure EV efficiency mode, whereby the electric motor can drive the vehicle with minimal gear meshes, and torque infill to solve the inherent shift refinement weakness of AMTs particularly in urban driving.

Other modes include a power boost for overtaking effectively deploying the electric motor-generator and battery as an F1 style kinetic energy recovery system (KERS).

There is also a range extender mode for EV charging on the move and a plug in capability for EV charging whilst stationary.

Last but not least there is a high performance EV mode enabling the electric motor to drive through all gear ratios with a decoupled engine.

Xtrac has worked with a number of manufacturers of electric motors for numerous automotive hybrid and EV applications.

For the purposes of its new high performance 1010 hybrid gearbox, the transmission technology specialist has partnered with Magneti Marelli for the bespoke electro-hydraulic actuation system, transmission control unit, electric motor and inverter, and system software.

The design includes individual actuators on each selector fork, and a 60 kw continuous 120-kw peak output electric motor.