Allison, Dana to develop new transmission with Calif. tech firm
Three U.S. auto suppliers today unveiled a partnership that they say will develop a more efficient type of transmission technology that could be well-suited for electric vehicles while achieving fuel savings in gasoline-powered passenger vehicles and trucks.
Allison Transmission Holdings and Dana Holding Corp. said they plan to manufacture, commercialize and license the NuVinci CVP technology from Fallbrook Technologies Inc. Dana CEO Roger Wood said during a conference call that the technology may improve fuel efficiency by 10 percent in passenger vehicles with six-speed automatic transmissions. CVP stands for continuously variable planetary technology.
Fallbrook, based in San Francisco, has operations in Michigan, Oregon, China and Europe. The firm holds more than 500 patents and patent applications worldwide.
Dana, a longtime powertrain supplier based in Maumee, Ohio, said in a joint statement by the three companies that it will use the NuVinci technology to produce transmission parts and other "advanced powertrain solutions" for passenger and some off-highway vehicles.
Allison, a former GM unit that was sold to Onex Group and Carlyle Group in 2007, makes transmissions for heavy trucks and related vehicles. The company said it will focus on using the NuVinci technology in the commercial vehicle, military application and off-highway and large stationary equipment markets, according to the statement.
NuVinci CVP technology "controls the relationships of speed and torque" and can be applied to "mechanical devices that have a transmission or can benefit from speed or torque variation," the statement said.
Fallbrook CEO William Klehm III said during a conference call today that there are "significant opportunities for improving electromechanical machines" with CVP technology.
"We've done some early development and early testing in this area and we believe there will be a substantial opportunity to do that," Klehm said.
According to the statement, full-scale production of off-highway transmissions with NuVinci-equipped components in Dana's markets is expected within three to five years, while implementation in passenger and commercial vehicles is anticipated before the end of the decade.
New federal fuel efficiency standards requiring 54.5 mpg for the U.S. auto fleet are "extremely tight," so technologies will have to be deployed to meet the "stringent regulations," Wood said during the conference call.
Wood said the early fuel savings projections of 8 to 10 percent improvement are promising, especially when considering that a 1 or 2 percent gain is deemed significant.
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