Supposedly, continuously variable transmissions date back to blueprints developed by Leonardo da Vinci. However, they are becoming increasingly popular in modern cars, especially those looking to save on gas. What exactly is this system? Below you will find continuously variable transmissions explained.
Put simply, a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is a system of cones and a belt. Advantages include a smoother ride, better fuel economy, better acceleration, and lower emissions among other things. Thanks to advances in material design, CVTs are becoming more and more popular in commercial automobiles.
A traditional transmission, according to How Stuff Works, operates using a series of gears to find optimum power ratios. This shifting lets you increase your top speed and accelerate faster; however, it is a highly complex mechanism that relies on roughly 1,000 components as well as a hydraulic system. Most cars come with automatic or manual transmissions.
A CVT varies by using two cones that taper to a point. Instead of shifting though gears, a belt simply moves up and down the cones. The varied width does essentially the same thing as a range of gears; however, there is no loss of power during “shifting,” and you are always in the optimum gear.
Described above is a pulley CVT, the most common system. There are also toroidal CVTs, which use discs and power rollers, and hydrostatic CVTs that use hydrostatic pumps. Next time you’re shopping for a car, consider buying one with a CVT.