GM Inside News Forum banner
1 - 20 of 71 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,817 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wards Automotive News

January 22, 2015

Article Quotes:

General Motors is in the late stages of developing an in-house continuously variable transmission for use around the world to meet tightening fuel-economy and carbon- dioxide emissions regulations.

Details on the CVT are limited, but sources tell WardsAuto it will find its way into several “high-volume” products by 2019, including models in the U.S., and it will mate to GM’s new family of small-displacement 3-cyl. and 4-cyl. engines rolling out this year.

The CVT has reached a point in its development where GM has hosted suppliers at its global powertrain headquarters in Pontiac to solicit bids for parts.

“We can’t confirm if we are doing one,” GM Powertrain spokesman Tom Read tells WardsAuto. “Obviously, we have the capability.”

Gearless CVT technology would be one of the more significant moves, especially in the U.S., where consumers historically have shied away from the option because of its shiftless, unfamiliar feel.

GM uses CVT technology today, too, but the applications are limited. In the U.S., the ’15 Chevy Spark offers a CVT, which the automaker sources from Japan-based Jatco. The take-rate for the Spark CVT is an impressive 70%. GM also uses a CVT as the sole transmission option for its Chevrolet City Express van, a vehicle it sources from Nissan.

GM’s previous CVTs met with mixed results. The automaker viewed it as the ideal fuel-saver in the early 2000s, outfitting it on the now-defunct Saturn Vue CUV and Ion small car, as well as the Opel Vectra in Europe. But GM encountered drivability issues and production snags and dropped the program in 2004.

Over the years, a key hurdle for CVTs in the U.S. has been size and torque-capacity limitations, which made them appropriate only for smaller engines in a market where bigger has traditionally been better.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,817 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
It's getting hard enough to worry about the demise of the manual transmission...now perhaps, the conventional automatic is on the endangered list.

This might not be a bad thing however. We have all read the complaints (from the automotive media) about GM automatic transmissions and shift points - which it must be said are designed and geared to improve fuel economy first, thus leading to (possible) under-performance from the view of the driver.

Let's see what the future holds. One of General Motors known strengths is transmission design and development. I look forward to driving a new GM vehicle with this new transmission.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
867 Posts
It's getting hard enough to worry about the demise of the manual transmission...now perhaps, the conventional automatic is on the endangered list.

This might not be a bad thing however. We have all read the complaints (from the automotive media) about GM automatic transmissions and shift points - which it must be said are designed and geared to improve fuel economy first, thus leading to (possible) under-performance from the view of the driver.

Let's see what the future holds. One of General Motors known strengths is transmission design and development. I look forward to driving a new GM vehicle with this new transmission.
GM lost their shirt on the last attempt at in house design and build of a cvt. The VT25E was a total POS. Extremely expensive to rebuild, unreliable after they were rebuilt because the belt would blow apart with no warning and at $1,500 for just the belt not a good design. We have rebuilt many but GM's by far is the worst.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,898 Posts
Doesn't GM have 8, 9, or 10 speed automatics on the way?

The ION and VUE cvt sucked because it's torque rating was exceeded by the 2.2L Ecotec it was bolted up to.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Frank Nitty

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,247 Posts
Subaru has proved with its CVTs that it can be done right. At least the version they sell in the WRX. I think if we want to keep our performance cars around this technology needs to be developed. At least as an option.

I know its apples to oranges but once you start selling an AT with 8-9 or 10+ gears at what point is it basically a CVT? Obviously this wouldn't apply to heavy-duty/truck applications. But you get the drift.

I'm positive GM can engineer a world-beating CVT but can they properly market it without instant backlash.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,904 Posts
Subaru has proved with its CVTs that it can be done right. At least the version they sell in the WRX. I think if we want to keep our performance cars around this technology needs to be developed. At least as an option.

I know its apples to oranges but once you start selling an AT with 8-9 or 10+ gears at what point is it basically a CVT? Obviously this wouldn't apply to heavy-duty/truck applications. But you get the drift.

I'm positive GM can engineer a world-beating CVT but can they properly market it without instant backlash.
The Subaru CVT works so well because it DOESN'T use the "continuously variable" capability but an electronically "fixed" number of ratios so that it operates like a conventional autobox.

Maybe the best answer is a DSG with a lock-up torque converter.
 

·
Premium Member
News Contributor
Joined
·
5,625 Posts
I’m really glad to be hearing this. Standing back and looking that the whole of GM today, it appears they have really been working hard to not only fix the major internal structural problems, they are also really digging deep into their own engineering development.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
952 Posts
The Subaru CVT works so well because it DOESN'T use the "continuously variable" capability but an electronically "fixed" number of ratios so that it operates like a conventional autobox.

Maybe the best answer is a DSG with a lock-up torque converter.
Have some wheel time with a 2015 Subie Impreza with 2.0 l. It's not too bad; takes a little bit to get used to but pickup and driveability are pretty good. Not the horror story that I've heard about some non-Subie CVTs.

There's a $1000 hit for a CVT versus the 6 speed on this Subie. Shouldn't these be less expensive to produce than a true auto?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
I've had CVT's on Nissan Altima rental cars and have hated it, because on that car it aggressively moves you to higher gear ratios to save gas, giving the car a bogged down feeling and making you over accelerate to compensate. However, for the last week I have had a Toyota Corolla with a CVT as a loaner car, and on this model it works great. Good gas mileage and efficient use of the power the car has. So, I've gone from CVT=BAD to it's all about the tuning and execution.
 

·
Registered
2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Premier
Joined
·
1,312 Posts
Probably it will be CVT mainly for subcompact cars (Corsa, Spark, Sonic, Adam, Encore/Mokka etc). May be, entry level of Cruze/Astra.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,247 Posts
The Subaru CVT works so well because it DOESN'T use the "continuously variable" capability but an electronically "fixed" number of ratios so that it operates like a conventional autobox.

Maybe the best answer is a DSG with a lock-up torque converter.
The CVT option in the WRX does both. In Sport and Sport# it uses the fixed (computer determined) ratios. I'm not sure if its a 6 or 8 speed mimic. In normal driving mode it acts the same as it would in a basic Impreza or like the one in my XV. Which BTW isn't that bad. A little rubbery when it was brand new but seems to have settled in. Unlike the WRX the paddle shifters in my car are completely useless.

Long story-short the computer settings are infinite. Which could be good.

I might look into getting the WRX trans. tune on my XV if possible. There has been quality/reliability issues with CVTs in the past. I think those bugs have been worked out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
Skip the CVT go to series electric drive. Will give you the efficiency without a lot of the issues (though at a cost).

CVT has some great benefits, they are tricky to design, but you can get great efficiency. The key is all in the tuning. Give several tuned modes (ECO, Sport, Performance, Balanced, Submarine) and I think more people will see the benefits. Off highway has been using CVT for may years and they have been met with great success among customers.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BlueMontreal

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,015 Posts
It's getting hard enough to worry about the demise of the manual transmission...now perhaps, the conventional automatic is on the endangered list.

This might not be a bad thing however. We have all read the complaints (from the automotive media) about GM automatic transmissions and shift points - which it must be said are designed and geared to improve fuel economy first, thus leading to (possible) under-performance from the view of the driver.

Let's see what the future holds. One of General Motors known strengths is transmission design and development. I look forward to driving a new GM vehicle with this new transmission.
Not only GM's transmission is tuned for best gas mileage. All other auto makers are doing it and they all have the same problem. A friend of mine just bought a new Ford and has complained about the hunting of gears that it does. If anyone gets picked on, it's usually GM.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
862 Posts
My CVT experience is limited to three vehicles over a ten year span.

The Ford Freestyle AWD we owned in 2005 where it allowed a small V-6 to handle the 4000+ pound bulk of the AWD Freestyle and accelerate at a reasonable pace (albeit with high RPM's on the tach every time you put your foot into it). The only issue we had with it was a solenoid that didn't like tight turning for a long period (the entrance curly cue in my work parking garage for instance) and it would put the CVT into fail mode requiring a tow. It was a known issue and never really fixed for good when we traded the Freestyle for a Malibu Maxx after a year.

The Honda Civic hybid we owned from late 2008 to fall 2013 had no issues in how the CVT worked and it was very efficient. It was very slow and didn't accelerate briskly even under high RPMs. It was super efficient and averaged well over the EPA 44/41 mpg ratings in the almost five years and 55K miles we had it. The CVT had no issues, but the hybrid sure did from needing a battery pack replacement to needing new shocks and struts at 40K to a lot of electrical gremlins. So at the end of the day the Honda CVT was bulletproof but the Honda Civic was very unreliable in most other systems.

I had a 2014 Altima rental last week with the 4 cylinder and CVT. It was rated 27 city/38 highway and got 24.5 mpg on the first 300 mile tank that was 50% commuter slog and 50% highway. It got 34.5 mpg on the 270 mile second tank which was 99% highway at 55 to 65 mph. So the CVT as an efficiency tool didn't quite cut it and the mileage ratings are overstated by 10-20% from reality. I did find the powertrain to be very good in delivering power and did not find I had to floor it as mentioned previously to get anywhere fast.

Based on these three experiences, I'd consider a CVT, but probably not as a first year owner. I'd make sure the job one gremlins are all fixed and let some real world experience on whether the power and economy are in balance be determined before jumping in.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,431 Posts
I have two cars with a CVT now. I like them...especially the Subaru, since I can freeze the ratio with those flappy paddles. I'd rather that manual selection to be on the shifter, but I'll take what I can get.

So the CVT as an efficiency tool didn't quite cut it and the mileage ratings are overstated by 10-20% from reality
You can't jump to that conclusion based on a few hundred miles in one rental.

My wife's Accord CVT can easily get 40mpg highway (37 on winter blend), and sometimes higher. From what I've read on the Accord forums, this is a common occurrence. My Outback is also beating the EPA numbers, but by a smaller margin. I have a heavier foot, and the 2.5L in my Outback could use another 20 horsepower.
 
1 - 20 of 71 Posts
Top