Kia Claims Hybrid Economy Boost With New Transmission

Kia claims a world first with a gearbox for hybrid powertrains that can cut fuel consumption by speeding up gear changes by 30%.

It’s active shift control (ASC) transmission claims to improve ratio change efficiency by monitoring gear shifts 500 times per second and then adjusting the transmission rotation speed for faster shift times. The system applies control logic software to the hybrid control unit, which then controls the electric motor to align the rotational speeds of the engine and transmission to reduce gear shift time. The technology also claims to deliver smoother gear changes despite quicker shift times.

It over comes the fact that conventional hybrid vehicles do not have torque converters in their transmission because they lose energy during the process of power pick-up. However, this hybrid system also requires longer shift times to keep ratio changes smooth.

Kia’s new technology allows the hybrid’s electric motor to take control of gear shifts through its software to mitigate issues with slower shift time. With the synchronization, shift time is reduced from 500ms to 350ms improving both performance and economy and also the lifespan of the gearbox by minimizing friction during gear shift.

KyoungJoon Chang, vice-president and head of powertrain control system group of Kia’s parent company, Hyundai Motor Group, said: “The development of world’s first ASC technology is a remarkable innovation which incorporates precise motor control to automatic transmission. It will not only save fuel but also provide a more fun driving experience for our customers.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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