As seen on:

SMH Logo News Logo

Call 1300 303 181

What is CVT?

CVT defined

CVT stands for the Continuously Variable Transmission. A traditional automatic transmission has gears that are able to interlock by toothed wheels that help transmit rotary motion and torque. An automatic transmission moves through the gears, and the driver can usually feel the car jolt as each gear is engaged. The beauty of a CVT is that, unlike the traditional automatic transmission, they don’t have a gear box with a set number of gears. This means that a CVT does not have interlocking toothed wheels.

The most common type of CVT works by a clever pulley system. The pulley system allows an infinite variability of gearing between the highest and lowest gears. A CVT has no set gear shifts and therefore is very smooth in its delivery of engine power to the driving wheels.

There are three types of CVT. Firstly, there are pulley-based CVTs which are simple in design, and consist of a metal or rubber belt on two pulleys. Secondly, there is the toroidal CVT, which replaces the belts and pulleys with disks and power rollers. And thirdly, there is the hydrostatic CVT which is not driven by friction like the other two types. The hydrostatic CVT uses variable displacement pumps to vary fluid flow into hydrostatic motors, which governs the relational motion to the drive wheels.

CVTs offer constant and stepless acceleration. They prove to be more fuel-efficient because the CVT works to keep the car at its optimum power range, however fast the car is travelling. Because less power is lost in a CVT compared to an automatic transmission of the usual type, acceleration is better.

With the technological advancements in CVTs, the capacity for handling greater amounts of torque are becoming a reality. The new Nissan Murano CVT handles 245 bhp without a problem. More power to the CVT, I say!

We hope that helps answer the question ‘What is What is CVT?’!

Back to Car Glossary