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8-speed impact

by David Zatz on

Chrysler issued a press release yesterday, boasting of the impact of their TorqueFlite eight-speed transmissions (some made internally, some by ZF).  Chrysler was the first company to use these transmissions in mainstream brands; over one million are now in use. The company wrote:

Over their lifetimes, vehicles equipped with TorqueFlite eight-speed transmissions are projected to save their owners more than 700 million gallons of fuel, compared with their predecessors that featured five- or six-speed automatics. That quantity of gasoline is worth approximately $2.5 billion at the pump, based on current fuel-price forecasts.

This will also reduce combined CO2 emissions by more than six million metric tons …  Depending on the application, a TorqueFlite transmission can account for fuel-economy improvements of up to nine percent, compared with a more conventional automatic.

“The TorqueFlite’s wide 7.03 ratio spread is the reason it can deliver such superior performance,” Lux said. “This enables engines to operate at peak efficiency in a broader range of driving conditions.”

… Paired with the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 in the 2015 Dodge Challenger, it weighs just four lbs. (1.8 kg) more than the five-speed gearbox it replaces while contributing to a fuel-economy gain in the range of five percent.

Internally, the transmission features four gear sets and five shift elements consisting of multi-disc clutches and brakes. Only two shift elements are open at one time, which reduces drag losses stemming from the rotation of multiple parts.

Lower viscosity transmission fluid is used to improve operating efficiency and fuel economy, especially during cold environments or vehicle start-up. The TorqueFlite also is “fill-for-life,” never requiring oil changes, when subjected to normal driving conditions.

In the Ram 1500, TorqueFlite function benefits further from a thermal management system that quickly raises engine and transmission fluid temperature. This improves fuel efficiency by 1.7 percent by reducing the parasitic losses that occur when engine oil and transmission fluid are in their natural, lower-viscosity states.

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