Following an extensive programme of vehicle based demonstrations at Weifang, China, the highly advanced eight-speed automatic transmission – developed as the result of a close collaboration between Shengrui and Ricardo – has moved a significant step closer to production.
The new front wheel drive 8AT transmission offers the prospect of improving powertrain efficiency and hence fuel economy, while also providing highly satisfying and sporty performance. The 8AT design is a relatively simple arrangement that requires no special gear design or manufacture. It offers the potential for excellent shift quality and is notably compact, offering significant packaging benefits.
The vehicle tests of the 8AT transmission were carried out at Weifang on 1st of September in the presence of approximately 25 officials of the Chinese government as well as senior representatives of SAE China and major Chinese automakers including ChangAn, FAW, Great Wall and Dongfeng. Feedback from the tests was extremely positive, with those driving the vehicle commenting on the high quality of the transmission and the smoothness of its performance, helped by the 8AT’s advanced Ricardo control software and calibration. As a result of this formal review of the 8AT transmission, the Chinese government has now given its formal approval for the prototype to proceed to production.
Commenting on Commenting on the achievement of this key project milestone, Mark Garrett, Ricardo plc executive director, said: “We are extremely pleased to have been able to assist Shengrui in the development of the 8AT transmission. This is an internationally competitive and feature rich product that has been the result of a highly effective collaboration between Ricardo and Shengrui in which teams of engineers from both companies have worked together in China and Europe. We look forward to seeing the first production applications of this exciting new product in the near future in both the Chinese and international export markets.”
The project to develop the 8AT transmission commenced in mid-2009. The ground-breaking 8AT concept was first proposed by a respected transmission specialist, Professor Peter Tenberge, director and chair of machine elements in the faculty of mechanical engineering at Chemnitz University, Germany. As developed in collaboration between Ricardo and Shengrui over the past year, the 8AT includes a unique combination of epicyclic and parallel axis gearing, in which three simple planetary gears are used together with a single brake and four clutch units. Just seven months following the start of the project the first prototype was demonstrated at Ricardo’s Leamington Spa, UK, facility in February 2010, and in April a vehicle featuring an 8AT was subsequently unveiled at the prestigious Beijing Motor Show. Following completion of this important milestone review announced today, it is anticipated that a production version of the new gearbox will be ready for manufacture in China in the near future.
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