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Technical Paper

Automotive Traction Fluids: A Shift in Direction for Transmission Fluid Technology

Driven by global demands for improved fuel economy and reduced emissions, significant improvements have been made to engine designs and control systems, vehicle aerodynamics, and fuel quality. Improvements, such as the continuously slipping torque converter, have also been made to automatic transmissions to increase vehicle efficiency. Recently, belt-continuously variable transmissions (b-CVTs) have been commercialized with the promise of significant fuel economy improvements over conventional automatic transmissions. Automotive traction drive transmissions may soon join belt-CVTs as alternative automatic transmission technology. Much of the information reported in technical and trade publications has been on the mechanics of these traction drive systems. As automotive traction drives move closer to commercial reality, more attention must be given to the performance requirements of the automotive traction fluid.