4 Ways The New 2025 CAFE Mileage Standards Will Change Future Transmissions
Posted by Regis F. on Thursday, January 24th, 2013
It was recently announced that the new 2025 CAFE Mileage standards for 2025 will be 54.5 mile per gallon of gas. That’s beyond the 37.8 mile per gallon standard that they must meet by 2016, and that’s only three short years away. Currently the CAFE standards are 27.5, the same that they have been back to the 1990’s.
So what is the CAFE standard you ask? CAFE stands for Corporate Average Fuel Economy. Automotive manufacturers must take the average mileage of all cars and trucks they sell over a given period of time and make sure that average is at or above the CAFE standards or face stiff fines from the government. The fine currently stands at $5.50 per 0.1 mpg they fall below the standards. The number is multiplied by the number of cars and light trucks they sold. CAFE only applies to cars and light trucks. The regulations cover trucks such as the Ford F 150, which are approximately 75 square feet or larger. Long distance transport truck drivers with their foot to the pedal have other problems, and other regulations to abide by.
This new standard is going to have a profound effect on the entire industry and on every component that goes into making a vehicle. Let’s take a look at how this standard will affect future transmissions.
Transmissions will get lighter in weight. One of the easiest ways to increase the mileage of a vehicle is to make it lighter. That makes sense since the lighter the vehicle, the less power it will take to move it and less power means using less gas. We will start to see use of lighter cases and internal components. Expect to see parts made of new, more costly exotic lightweight materials. Titanium, carbon fiber and materials that haven’t even been discovered or invented yet will find their way into transmissions of all types and shapes.
Transmissions will get more gears. It wasn’t too long ago that the best automatic transmissions had three forward gears, and the best manual transmission had four forward gears. Both had a final gear ratio of 1:1 with no overdrive. Now, we are seeing 8 speed automatics and nine speed manual transmissions. We already have continuous variable transmissions that have an infinite number of gears or in reality, no gears at all. Expect to see transmissions with even more gears in the very near future. The more gears a transmission has, the easier it is to keep the motor in a narrow rpm band. This can be used to increase the vehicles mileage.
Transmission will have more electronics. Human interaction with the transmission has a big effect on the mileage of the vehicle. A transmission that is computer controlled can do a much better job in determining the best gear to be in when it comes to achieving the best mileage possible. Transmissions will have more solenoids, more sensors and more complex computer programs to run them.
Transmission will be more expensive. Everything we mentioned above will cost more money. New emerging technologies are almost always expensive at first. Machine processes related to the manufacturing of a transmission will be more involved, take longer and will be more expensive. You didn’t expect to get all these benefits for free, did you?
Tomorrow’s transmission will be radically different than today’s transmissions. Let’s just hope this translates into a better transmission, not ones with more problems.