Innovative 6-Speed Automatic Transmission to Equip Future Hyundai Hybrid Models

Hyundai automatic transmission 1 photo
Photo: Hyundai
Even though a six-speed automatic is not what anyone would call big news in this day and age, the new cog swapper from Hyundai is hiding a big ace up its sleeve - it will incorporate the electric motor of the brand’s future lineup of hybrids, including the Sonata.
Somewhat similar in design to the Renault EOLAB Concept’s transmission, this type of box houses not only the gears, but also the permanent magnet electric motor that’s handling the eco-friendly transportation bit. The more skeptical petrolhead may wonder why would engineers develop such a thing, but the explanation is rather simple.

Speaking at the International Powertrain Conference in Namyang, South Korea, a Hyundai official told that by integrating the electric motor in the housing of the six-speed automatic transmission, that helps minimize mechanical drag and improve the transfer of power from the engine to the driven wheels. But there’s even more to like about this contraption.

Less weight + less friction = better fuel economy

It also incorporates an electric oil pump, thus eliminating the energy losses related to the engine’s wasted horses on operating a normal mechanical pump. In comparison to a mechanical pump, the electric oil pump can be optimized to operate for specific conditions. The new unit not only deletes components such as the torque converter of a normal slushbox, but employs a clutch with fewer discs.

Best of all? The whole transmission tips the scale at just 130 kilograms (286 lbs), including the electric motor. Although Hyundai is still keeping its lips tightly shut on how much torque can it handle and ratios, we learned from the manufacturer that the new six-speed automatic is going to see its first application in next year’s Sonata Hybrid, which will make its debut by fall 2015 as a 2016 model year.

Expect the new cog-swapping and electric propulsion contraption to be used by hybrid Kia models too.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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