Moving up a gear

Antonov, the company developing new car transmission technology, has unveiled plans to launch a gearbox for larger vehicles.

The new automatic gearbox, to be called the Dual Clutch Antonov (DCA) will be aimed at cars larger than 2 litres and with torque capacities greater than 250Nm.

The DCA is a major departure for Antonov, which has so farconcentrated on automatic transmissions for small cars.

Its existing Antonov Automatic Drive (AAD) is intended for use in city runaround-style vehicles. The company said the DCA can have seven or more speeds and will be easily adaptable to four-wheeldrives, allowing it to target fast-growing vehicle markets such as the SUV sector.

In another departure, Antonov will also develop the DCA as amanual gearbox. It claimed both the automatic and manual versions – which will share many common components – will offer car manufacturers significant weight and space advantages over conventional gearboxes.

The heart of Antonov’s technology is the use of axial forces to initiate gear changes rather than conventional high-pressure hydraulics, removing the need for a hydraulic system and torque converter.

The company has also claimed big fuel efficiency benefits for cars running on the gearbox, which is the brainchild of inventor Roumen Antonov, the company’s chairman.

The firm’s sole focus on the small car sector via the AAD has proved a tough task for the company. Small car makers have traditionally shunned automatic gearboxes, seeing them as too expensive to mass-produce for the cheaper end of the market.

The company claimed it now had all sections of the industrycovered. ‘With the launch of the DCA we will for the first time be targeting the larger car market, an area where automatic gearboxes already predominate,’ said Antonov.

The first prototype of the DCA will go on show in a vehicle at the Paris Motor Show later this year.