More on Trollhattan engineering GM gearboxes

I mentioned this a little while ago, but Hakan has been kind enough to send through a full translation of the original article that appeared in the Swedish magazine, Tekniken’s Varld.

As mentioned previously, engineers in Trollhattan are leading GM’s research in several different areas. The development and implementation of E85 technology for turbocharged vehicles, for one. The development and implementation of the XWD system for front wheel drive vehicles being another. Saab were/are also GM’s center of excellence (or some such title) for turbocharging as well.

Add gearboxes to the list:

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GM hires 100 new engineers in Trollhättan.

GM Powertrain in Trollhattan needs to double the number of engineers within transmission-development. They have received GM’s assignment to develop the fuel efficient gearboxes of the future, and in a hurry.

“We need to find at least 100 new engineers”, says Dennis Lundgren, head of the global development of GM’s gearboxes.

GM’s new gearboxes will be developed in Trollhattan. Here are some 100 developing engineers, and the number needs to be doubled. All development of manual- and automated gearboxes will be controlled from here. Another 100 are employed in Rüsselheim and another 150 in the rest of the world. In total it’s about 3.5 million gearboxes. Dennis Lundgren is the boss.

“Our challenge is now the new DCT-gearboxes. We need to develop a new kind of technology”, he says.

DTC, double clutch transmission, is an automated manual gearbox with a double clutch. It is at least as efficient as a manual gearbox, and the double clutch makes it shift as soft as an automatic. And they save fuel as well.

Compared with a standard automatic gearbox, the saving is between five and ten percent fuel.

The advantage of manual gearboxes is based on the driver shifting gears at the optimal time. Differences in driving can increase fuel consumption by more then 10%. The answer is automated manual gearboxes. The manual transmission works without any powerloss and a gearshifting robot shifts gear at the optimal speed. Automated manual gearboxes with one clutch are increasingly more common in heavy vehicles.

But for private cars, is it a question of comfort. “The double clutch system makes gear changes without any loss of torque at all”, says Dennis Lundgren.

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As I said the first time I reported on this – is there anything at GM that Saab aren’t contributing to now?

It’s quite likely that the ability to provide expertise in areas such as these are a large part of why GM has kept Saab around.

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3 Comments

  1. Echoes of VW. They (double clutch auto-manuals) might be nicer to drive than a stndrd auto – read AUTO-they are not manuals at all) but their lvl of complexity and cost for repair and maint still makes a real manual attractive.

  2. It’s interesting that GM is deciding to develop their own dual-clutch gearbox. In the past Saab (and I’m sure many other GM marques) bought their gearbox from Aisin (or other companies) rather than design their own in-house.

    VAG’s (VW, Audi, SEAT, Skoda) dual-clutch transmissions are purchased from Borg-Warner (or Ricardo Company in the case of the Bugatti Veyron), whereas ovloV (Ford) is buying theirs from GETRAG.

    VAG is rumored to be developing their own in-house design as well. Mitsubishi and Porsche are also expected to come out with dual-clutch designs of their own soon.

    I can see the advantage for a major volume manufacturer to use their own design rather than license one from a third-party company. I’m impressed GM sees enough in Saab’s engineering prowess to entrust them with such an important job, but I worry that they’re taking resources away from things which are important to Saab.

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