Lately it seems that all the hype in the auto industry is about the huge advancements in the efficiency of vehicles being produced.  With fuel economy being at the top of consumer’s checklists of must have’s, you can see why companies have been spending so much time and money developing transmissions that maximize efficiency.  Continue reading for more information from the experts in the industry more about the latest advancements of the automatic transmission…

A Brief History…

The 8 speed transmission was first introduced to the Unites States in 2011 when it was installed in the Chrysler 300.  The transmission was initially designed and built by ZF Friedrichshafen in Saarbrucken, Germany and was quickly discovered by U.S. car manufacturers shortly after its launch.  Just 2 years after it was introduced to the Unites States, Chrysler had begun engineering its own version of the unit.  By 2013, Chrysler had already partnered up with ZF to set up a plant in Indiana where the transmission would be produced.  Since then, many other manufacturers such as GM and Ford have jumped on the band wagon and have begun production of their own version of the unit.

The Benefits…

The highly efficient 8 speed transmission comes with many benefits to the consumer. The first and most sought after benefit is the increase in fuel efficiency.  It can improve fuel economy 11% compared the older 6 speed transmission and up to 14% compared to modern 5 speed transmissions.  The Chrysler 300 now gets 31 miles per gallon, up from 27 MPG in years prior.

Another benefit is the unusually fast locking torque converter that allows for quicker engagement and limited “slip”.  Faster torque converter engagement and less slipping means less wear and tear on the clutches inside the unit and the longer it will last.  Since torque converters take the most abuse and often have higher failure rates than other components inside a transmission, this improvement means a longer life expectancy of the transmission.  Since transmission repair is often one of the most costly repairs on a vehicle this comes as a huge benefit to the consumer.

An additional benefit this improved transmission can offer is extremely smooth shifts that happen so quickly they often cannot be sensed by the driver.  They also offer great advantages to the power enthusiast as they can handle over 650 ft.-lbs. of torque!  Weighing only 200 lbs. these new units offer a great mix of power and efficiency.

Where To Find Them?

The ZF 8HP and Chrysler’s version, the 845RE can be found in a large assortment of vehicles available in the U.S.  Since they were first installed in the Chrysler 300 and later the Dodge Charger, you will see these transmissions in everything from the Cadillac CTS, to the Hyundai Genesis, to the Yukon Denali, and many more.  As well, these units are installed in high end luxury cars including Porsche, BMW, Lexus, and many others.  GM has built their very own unit call the Hydra-Matic 8L90 which can be found in the 2015 Corvette Stingray and Z06.

What’s Next?

The improvements in the transmissions being produced in modern vehicles are a major benefit to car enthusiasts of all types.  They offer unparalleled fuel economy and can handle a significant amount of torque and power.  They are certainly a step in the right direction for future vehicles and are making everyone curious of what will come next.  There has been talk to GM and Ford merging to develop 9 and 10 speed transmissions and we are excited to see what’s in store for the future. Stay posted for more details on what manufacturers will be building next.