ZF builds world’s first nine-speed automatic transmission
In the ever-changing technological landscape of today’s world, it doesn’t seem all too surprising when a certain company releases a new breakthrough that’s being considered a game changer.
In the world of auto transmissions, ZF is the unquestioned leader in the industry, having supplied for a number of esteemed brands including Audi, Bentley, BMW, Range Rover, and Rolls-Royce. As a matter of fact, the company’s eight-speed automatic transmission is currently being used in a lot of rear-wheel drive models from the aforementioned brands. With an eight-speed transmission already in play, ZF decided to up the ante by releasing the world’s very first nine-speed automatic transmission for passenger vehicles. Equipped with a transversely mounted engine, the nine-speed gearbox is similar to the eight-speed version with the biggest exception being that the former is best suited for front-wheel drive cars because of its capacity to increase the car’s fuel economy.
ZF’s new nine-speed transmission uses electronic controls to select the right gear depending on certain road conditions, eliminating situations where a car is subjected to unnecessary stepping and constant shifting.
ZF President and CEO, Hans-Georg Harter said that the company’s new nine-speed transmission is designed to improve the car’s overall efficiency. “ZF’s new nine-speed enables significant fuel economy improvements.” He said. “It delivers excellent performance characteristics for front-wheel drive vehicles.”
Despite complete details still being kept under wraps, ZF’s nine-speed transmission is being pegged for a production date of 2012 where it will be built at the company’s new manufacturing plant in South Carolina.
UPDATE 06/09/11: ZF has finally pulled the covers off of their ground-breaking new nine-speed automatic transmission. Called the ’9HP’, the new transmission has been promoted as boasting of a 16% improvement in fuel efficiency compared to the standard six-speed automatic transmissions out on the market these days. On top of that, the gearbox is in tune and adaptable to new technological systems, including engine start/stop systems, hybrid powertrains, and all-wheel drive systems. The flip side to this, however, is that with the new transmission can only be used on engines with torque outputs from 206 to 354 lb/ft of torque.