Chevy’s New Nine-Speed Transmission is Controlled by... An Original PlayStation?
It’s not really a PlayStation, but you’ll get the reference!by Robert Moore, on
Okay, so color me guilty for being slightly misleading with my title. No matter how hard you look you won’t find an original PlayStation console hidden away somewhere in any vehicle with the new nine-speed transmission, but it does use similar technology. In a world where cars come with hard drives, hot spots, and digital, touchscreen displays, among other large doses of modern technology, you might find it mildly entertaining to know that not everything is as modern as you might think. I’m talking about the transmission control module for the new nine-speed transmission. It seems like cars these days might as well be rolling supercomputers, but GM’s new gearbox just so happens to use a 32-bit control module. That’s the same rating as the original PlayStation console, Sega Saturn, and Atari Jaguar from the early 1990s! It doesn’t sound like much compared to the technology we find in cars these days, does it?
Surprisingly, that’s really all it takes, and GM says that the new, nine-speed transmission, with the help of its 32-bit control module, can offer “excellent off-the-line acceleration” and low-rpm highway cruising. It also supports stop/start technology for fuel savings, smooth and precise shifts, and can utilize engine braking to help prevent the need for braking during hill descent. The hydraulic system inside the transmission is controlled electronically, with the valve body cover acting as an internal expansion tank that holds excess fluid until it’s needed for shifting duties. The 9T50 transmission is also said to come with DEXRON-VI transmission fluid that, according to GM, doesn’t require changing if the car is always operated under “normal” driving conditions.
“Everything about the new nine-speed is designed to maximize benefits for the customer,” said Steve Majoros, director of Chevrolet Marketing. “It helps offer greater fuel efficiency in the city and on the highway, all with the world-class refinement that makes the drive quiet and smooth.”
The new transmission will make its debut in the 2017 Chevy Malibu and will also be available as an option in the 2017 Chevy Cruze Diesel and the 2018 Chevy Equinox. By the end of 2017, it will be available as an option on as many as 10 models.
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Why it matters
This new transmission is said to offer smooth, precise shifting, and fuel economy enhancements, but it really makes you wonder where it really stops. We’ve gradually grown the number of cogs available as the years have gone on. Where three and four gears were common place, we now find six or seven gears. Eight-speed transmissions are getting closer to becoming the normal, and now manufacturers are starting to push nine- and 10-speed units. In five years, will we find 11-speed or 12-speed transmissions commonplace as manufacturers continually try to increase efficiency even further? Only time will tell, but if history is any indication of the future, it could very well be so.
Read our full review on the Chevrolet Malibu here.