If you’ve been car shopping recently, you’ve probably seen the abbreviation “CVT” on some new models. This stands for a “Continuously Variable Transmission,” an old technology made new. Capable of drastically increasing fuel economy, this new technology is taking over the industry. Let’s explain Continuously Variable Transmission.
According to Autotrader, a CVT works by using a pair of cone shaped pulleys and a high-strength belt in lieu of a gearbox. While in a traditional transmission it has to shift into gear, disengage, and shift to other gears, a CVT is always in the optimum gear ratio (even though it doesn’t actually have the “gears”).
The advantages to this are multifold, including cost and performance. Because transmissions are traditionally considered the most complex aspect of a car (some with over 1,000 individual parts), it’s more affordable and less complex to use a CVT. They also get great fuel economy, one reason green companies started using them.
Why haven’t we seen them before? CVT technology is actually popular in small-engine industries. The only reason it hasn’t been adopted in cars is because you need high-strength materials that can withstand highway speeds. Until recently, these were hard to come by.
Discover more about CVT models by stopping by Gossett VW Porsche.