Seven-speed transmission

Automotive-engineering consultancy Ricardo has been contracted by Moscow-based Kate LLC to partner in the development of a seven-speed automatic transmission for use in Avtovaz cars.

Kate, an independent developer of automatic-transmission concepts, and Ricardo will develop the FT702 automatic transmission for use in Lada cars.

This will be the first automatic transmission to be offered by Avtovaz, which is Russia’s largest automaker, and is aimed at helping broaden the appeal of the company’s products in the domestic Russian market, which increasingly favours this type of transmission.

Kate has already built and tested concept demonstrator units, and has started preparation of a manufacturing facility in Kaliningrad to support volume production.

Ricardo has been contracted by Kate to help complete the design and development of the new transmission. The firm will act as an engineering partner for Kate on mechanical design and development, control software and calibration on the production programme. The objective is to develop a first derivative of the transmission family for launch in a Lada B/C class car in 2012.

The FT702 transmission, which is based on Kate’s original design concept, is expected to be an ultra-compact, low-cost unit with 175Nm capacity. The transmission design offers a large ratio spread and avoids the need for a torque converter, which Kate claims yields efficiency and further cost savings.

The programme will be supported by Ricardo staff at the company’s technical facilities in the UK, US and Germany. Ricardo will be responsible for all transmission-engineering work through to the end of the production-intent-prototype phase, including detail analysis and design, software, prototype manufacture, calibration and rig test.

After this, Ricardo will support Kate’s industrialisation of the design and maintain development responsibility for control software and calibration until the transmission reaches volume production.