ZF presents world’s first 9-speed automatic transmission

Article by Christian A., on June 13, 2011

German transmission supplier ZF has released more information such as fuel economy and proposed applications about its latest project – the world’s first nine-speed automatic transmission to be used in passenger cars.

While exhibiting at the International VDI conference, ZF declared that its nine-speed transmission is capable of achieving 16% fuel savings compared to current conventional six-speed autos. Making the nine speeds of ZF’s new transmission (aka the 9HP) possible are four separate gear sets and six shifting elements.

ZF asserted that making these parts fit inside a single transmission casing was a challenge, considering the space restrictions of a front-transverse engine.

With the use of complex workarounds, the driveline experts were able to reach their target. They created a transmission with smaller gear steps that permits the engine to always operate in its optimal speed range for best efficiency, which is at 1900 rpm at 120 km/h (about 75 mph) instead of 2600 rpm in modern six-speed autos.

Aside from improving fuel efficiency, the 9HP also enhances comfort and driving dynamics. ZF asserts that the 9HP has numerous applications such as on all-wheel-drive cars and hybrids.

So that the transmission can be adopted on numerous cars, ZF prepared “construction kits” that can adapt it to other applications.

With these options, manufacturers have an easier time of incorporating the nine-speed transmission into their cars, with features such as added transfer case for all-wheel-drive cars that can be decoupled to save on fuel.

Topics: transmission

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