How does it work?
Okay, let’s go back to your bicycle. Think about how you switch gears on a bike? Changing gear changes the size correlation (i.e. transmission gear ratio) of the front and back wheels. Well, CVT uses a pulley and belt. As in the diagram below, by changing the width of two pulleys it becomes possible to change transmission gear ratio.
The advantage of CVT is that it can choose the optimum transmission gear ratio. For example, there are times with AT and DCT when the gear that is optimum for the vehicle’s speed is actually between fourth or fifth gear. The “gear” that would really give the best driving results would be “4.25” or “2.16,” but the number of gears is limited, so the system has to compromise.
CVT doesn’t have to compromise. It’s a “stepless” transmission where you can set the transmission gear ratio freely, meaning the car can always drive in the gear ratio that is most efficient. It can be used when driving at a set speed, as well as for continuous optimal transmission gear ratio during acceleration.
Due to this, fuel efficiency also improves. Another benefit is a smooth ride without the jerk you can get from shifting gears.
CVT is transmission with great potential, achieving a powerful driving experience that is smooth and with superb fuel efficiency.
Read more CVT with the next article in this series,
“CVT Evolution Part 2: Transmission ‘Rivals’ Learning From Each Other.