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Electronics & Test

Ford, GM Team Up on Transmissions

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Beth Stackpole
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Co-opetition at its finest?
Beth Stackpole   10/10/2012 7:25:50 AM
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At first blush, it seems strange to me that rivals Ford and GM would team up on a development effort that has such a major impact on each of their futures. Yet I suppose, given the seriousness of the new fuel economy standards, automotive OEMs are better served pooling their collective brain power and development resources  to come up with some core foundational technology solution to the challenge in a much shorter time frame. Then they can refine/extend/improve the technology to differentiate their individual product lines when and where it makes sense.

naperlou
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Re: Co-opetition at its finest?
naperlou   10/10/2012 11:04:34 AM
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Beth, yes, these two are competitors.  Since CAFE applies to everyone, and since the time scale is short, it makes sense.  They don't do it often. 

What is interesting is that I was just talking about this type of thing with my younger son.  My car is 10 years old and has a four speed.  My wife just bought a car with a six speed.  Both have the auto-stick feature.  I was making him aware that the first automatic transmissions had two speeds.  That is the genesis of PRNDL.  L was for low.  The new car has PRNDS.  The S is for second.  Quite a lot of progress.  Of course, we are getting close to the continuously variable transmission.  This is doable, but very expensive.

ChasChas
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Re: Co-opetition at its finest?
ChasChas   10/11/2012 10:03:28 AM
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naperlou, my 2007 Ford Five Hundred has a continuously varible transmission. It's here already. Does anyone know why was it was discontinued? 

tekochip
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Re: Co-opetition at its finest?
tekochip   10/11/2012 11:07:00 AM
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I hear that the Ford CV transmission was dropped because of business concerns.  The transmission was expensive, it couldn't handle the torque of the newer engine that was planned, and people didn't like the way it behaved.  Drivers are used to a certain cadence of sounds and the CV doesn't produce the same sound and feel that people were comfortable with.
 
Just the same, I'm sure the top reason was the cost compared to the six-speed.


JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Re: Co-opetition at its finest?
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   10/11/2012 3:04:48 PM
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Continuously Variable Transmissions were being developed for Saturn, by Hydro-matric, (both divisions of GM) in 1984.  I was a detail draftsman in the CAD center there, right after college. Don't ask me too much, though;  I only lasted in that sweat-shop for about 6 months before landing a much better job!

BigDipper
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Re: Co-opetition at its finest?
BigDipper   10/11/2012 10:16:21 AM
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naperlou,

Just about every hybrid being produced today has a CVT along with cars from Audi, Suburu, Nissan, and Mitsuibishi, to name a few more.  One plus for the CVT in slightly better fuel economy than with a "normal" automatic.

Charles Murray
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Re: Co-opetition at its finest?
Charles Murray   10/10/2012 5:49:43 PM
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Beth, I agree that it seems strange. I don't know much about antitrust law and can't explain why such collusion is allowed in this case, but there's definitely precedent for it. GM and Ford did it a decade ago and then again about four years ago. Other auto companies, such as Audi, BMW and Toyota, use external suppliers.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Co-opetition at its finest?
Rob Spiegel   10/10/2012 6:15:49 PM
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You're right, Chuck, there is a long history of automakers sharing technology developments. Automakers also share lobbying efforts. While it may seem odd -- or collusive -- for competitors to share development, well, they are under some heavy pressure to deliver the CAFE standards they're facing. I would imagine the government would be supportive of this type of sharing, since it is directly related to heavy government demands.

TJ McDermott
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Other ramifications
TJ McDermott   10/11/2012 12:59:33 AM
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A higher speed count means better mileage - ok, I save some money on gas.  What other cost ramifications will impact us?  How much more will the transmissions cost - how much will they add to the sticker price?

How much more likely will they be to fail, and what cost to repair?

If we can get to all-electric vehicles (darn battery storage!) then this wouldn't be necessary; variable frequency drives give the infinitely adjustable speed control.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Other ramifications
Beth Stackpole   10/11/2012 7:01:53 AM
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@TJ: Still think it's necessary since there is no way there will be a singular shift to pure electric even with stable and formidible battery technology. There definitely still needs to be choice and this type of intra-industry sharing of R&D makes perfect sense in terms of bettering the choices.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Other ramifications
Beth Stackpole   10/11/2012 7:03:25 AM
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@TJ: Still think it's necessary since there is no way there will be a singular shift to pure electric even with stable and formidible battery technology. There definitely still needs to be choice and this type of intra-industry sharing of R&D makes perfect sense in terms of bettering the choices.

Scott Orlosky
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Re: Other ramifications
Scott Orlosky   10/19/2012 5:30:35 PM
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TJ.  I had the same question, but I'll just throw it out to the community at large.  Anybody have an idea of how mechanical complexity (reliability, mainenance cost, etc.) trade off with improved gas mileage?  Obviously Ford and GM are driven to CAFE standards first and foremost, but what will the consumer have to "pay" over the vehicle life?

Ggarnier
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GM's current eight-speed transmission
Ggarnier   10/11/2012 9:51:12 AM
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"GM has been building eight-speed automatic transmissions at its assembly plant in Toldeo, Ohio, but none of those transmissions are yet offered in current vehicles."

Is this pilot production for development and test purposes? If not, where are these transmissions going?

Charles Murray
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Re: GM's current eight-speed transmission
Charles Murray   10/11/2012 11:07:58 AM
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GM's eight-speed transmissions are being developed for production vehicles, Ggarnier. The company invested $204 million in the Toledo plant where they're being built. As of now, I don't believe GM has said which vehicles will use the eight-speed, and when they will appear (we've e-mailed GM to double-check for you). Reports from various news organizations have speculated that the eight-speeds will be used full-sized pickups and SUVs, with possible launch in early 2013. My guess is we'll hear more about it at the Detroit Auto Show in January.

Charles Murray
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Re: GM's current eight-speed transmission
Charles Murray   10/11/2012 11:44:07 AM
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Ggarnier: Here's a follow-up to my comment above. GM's answer to your question about how the 8-speed will be used: "We have not yet announced what products will get the 8-speed, Toledo-built transmission."

MVRS
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Re: GM's current eight-speed transmission
MVRS   10/11/2012 12:51:47 PM
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The 8-speed transmissions made by GM are probably the 8-speeds used in BMWs.  GM has been providing transmissions to BMW for over 20 years.

Ockham
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Re: GM's current eight-speed transmission
Ockham   10/11/2012 1:45:25 PM
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This is no big surprise. Everyone knows that GM has the best automatics in the business. That's a long pedigree going back as far as the hydra-matics, Turbo-hydramatics, etc.

That's Ford has jumped on the bandwagon with a GM supplied transmission. That's why Rolls Royce selected GM automatics for the Phantom V, more than sixty years ago.

Speaking of GM and Rolls Royce and automatics, I'm reminded of the anecdote about Rolls Royce receiving and testing the first GM build hydramatics for their Phantom V. This was when they first allowed an automatic of any kind in the vaunted Rolls Royce automobile. Recognizing that GM far outstripped them in experience and manufacturing, Rolls Royce turned to GM for an automatic transmission solution. GM supplied Hydramatics, the same transmission in Cadillac automobiles of the era. But, for some reason, the Brits were having trouble with the transmissions, and GM engineers were called in. Transmissions which were checked and double checked before leaving the US developed mysterious shifting problems once installed in the famous English marques. Engineers were puzzled and travelled to England to see what was up.

Turns out the Rolls Royce folks and taken the Hydramatics apart and carefully polished the Hydramatic cases and parts. This was done because they were "rough looking" and "not up to the Rolls Royce standard of finish". In doing so, they polished not only the externals, but the internal parts, including the valve body passages. In doing so they disrupted the carefully managed internal hydraulic pressures and valve body flow of the transmissions, thereby ruining the shifting characteristics.

http://www.kda132.com/Technical/SectionF/Hydramatic2/Hydramatic2_1.html

Here's a link to the complete story, lest you think I'm making this up.


Of course, they were pretty and shiny.

 

:-)

Ockham

 

Charles Murray
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Re: GM's current eight-speed transmission
Charles Murray   10/11/2012 2:55:44 PM
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I don't know about all of the BMW transmissions, MVRS, but I believe the 8-speed in the 740i comes from ZF Friedrichshafen AG. As I say, I don't know about any others.

BigDipper
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Re: GM's current eight-speed transmission
BigDipper   10/11/2012 4:46:16 PM
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GM may make some of BMW's transmissions but the 8-speed unit is a ZF.  The same transmission is used by Audi.

Charles Murray
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Re: GM's current eight-speed transmission
Charles Murray   10/11/2012 7:33:20 PM
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You're right that Audi is using the ZF 8-speed, BigDipper. Lexus is also using it in the LS 460 and it's also being used in Chrysler and Dodge cars, as well.

robatnorcross
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Re: GM's current eight-speed transmission
robatnorcross   10/12/2012 8:42:06 PM
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Cats and Dogs are finally sleeping together. The end is near!

notarboca
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Re: GM's current eight-speed transmission
notarboca   10/15/2012 1:54:53 AM
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Does anyone know when Dodge will start using 8 speed (or more) in their full size trucks?

I think it is great to see Ford and GM to unite to use their technology in solving these difficult issues.

William K.
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Ford+GM on the ten speed Transmission?
William K.   10/11/2012 8:57:26 PM
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One question about the new transmission will be about how much power is used overcoming friction and keeping all of those gears spinning. The problems with the CVT types of transmissions were durability and cost, and I suspect that they had a bit more drag than a good manual 5 speed transmission. None of the power used to drive the hydraulic pumps in an automatic transmission is available to drive the vehicle, so there is a sort of problem right from the beginning. Unfortunately, all of the mechanism to provide the automated smooth shifting does consume a fair amount of power. Is there any competitive way around this challenge?

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