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New-gen automatic transmission goes green

ZF has positioned its new eight-speed automatic transmission to maximise efficiencies from hybrid powertrains.

Automotive component maker ZF has revealed its next-generation automatic transmission that is expected to underpin a wide variety of internal combustion and hybrid powertrains from 2022.

ZF predicts that “at least 70 per cent of all new passenger cars in 2030 will still have an internal combustion engine”, a large number of which will be paired to an electric motor.

As such, its new eight-speed automatic transmission is built to be flexible enough for a variety of powertrains – including 48-volt mild hybrids and petrol-assisted plug-ins – and operates more efficiently to lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

“The basic transmission, which is mechanically identical, can be used with a maximum power between 24 and 160 kilowatts by swapping various electric motors and corresponding power electronics for hybrid drives,” according to ZF.

However, all electric components, barring the accumulator, are fully integrated into the transmission housing to make it easier to slot into an existing manufacturing line.

ZF’s new transmission will make its debut on a BMW model from 2022, but with the German parts maker supplying for other brands including Alfa Romeo, Audi and Jaguar, expect to see the eight speeder proliferate across manufacturers. 

ZF head of car powertrain technology Stephan von Schuckmann said: “Nobody can predict the exact market share of hybrid electric vehicles in 2025.

“The modular construction system of the new eight-speed automatic transmission helps afford our customers a kind of insurance against market fluctuations,” he said.

“The CO2 thresholds will become stricter in all large markets over the next decade.

“The newest generation of the eight-speed automatic transmission can significantly contribute to reducing vehicle emissions that have an impact on the climate.”