Browse Publications Technical Papers 2016-01-1142

Investigating the Effect of Advanced Automatic Transmissions on Fuel Consumption Using Vehicle Testing and Modeling 2016-01-1142

In preparation for the midterm evaluation (MTE) of the 2022-2025 Light-Duty Greenhouse Gas (LD GHG) emissions standards, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is refining and revalidating their Advanced Light-Duty Powertrain and Hybrid Analysis (ALPHA) tool using newly acquired data from model year 2013-2015 engines and vehicles. ALPHA is a physics-based, forward-looking, full vehicle computer simulation capable of analyzing various vehicle types with different powertrain technologies, showing realistic vehicle behavior, and auditing of all internal energy flows in the model.
As part of the validation of ALPHA, the EPA obtained model year 2014 Dodge Chargers equipped with 3.6 liter V6 engines and either a NAG1 five-speed automatic transmission or an 845RE eight-speed automatic transmission. Vehicles were tested on a chassis dynamometer; test results showed eight-speed vehicles averaging 6.5% reduction in unadjusted combined city-highway fuel consumption compared to five-speed vehicles. In addition, an 845RE eight-speed transmission was obtained and tested in a standalone transmission test rig. The measured transmission parameters were used in ALPHA to simulate the behavior and fuel consumption of the eight-speed Dodge Charger. A companion model for the five-speed Charger was also constructed; the resulting simulated fuel consumption for both vehicles closely matched the test results.
This paper uses the validated ALPHA model to predict the effectiveness improvement of real-world transmissions over a baseline circa 2008 four-speed transmission, and to predict further improvements possible from future eight-speed transmissions. To that end, transmission models for a four-speed automatic transmission and future eight-speed automatic transmissions were constructed, and ALPHA was used to predict the fuel consumption differences of a Dodge Charger equipped with these transmissions. A fuel consumption reduction of over 12% was predicted when comparing a future eight-speed transmission to a baseline four-speed. Predicted fuel consumption reduction was over 16% when the engines were resized to maintain a constant acceleration performance.


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