Land Rover, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of off-road vehicles, has recently unveiled yet another innovative product in the form of the world’s first 9-speed automatic transmission. This new breakthrough will allow vehicles to run smoother, use less fuel, and improve acceleration.
In collaboration with ZF, an automotive accessories manufacturer, Land Rover has successfully created the world’s first 9-speed automatic transmission that will eventually replace the 6-speed transmission that Land Rover has previously been using. The new gearbox measures just 0.24” longer than the 6-speed gearbox, while weighing in at 16.5 pounds less. According to Land Rover, the new 9HP, which it has been dubbed, will reduce acceleration times from 0-62 MPH (0-100 KM/H) by two seconds, allowing the vehicle to get better traction at any speed and consume less fuel. Fuel consumptions for the 9HP are projected to be 12 percent fewer for gasoline-based SUVs and 16 percent on vehicles that depend on diesel. Not only will this achievement allow consumers to save money, but it will also help to reduce pollution and restore the natural environment to a time before CO2 emissions caused such heavy devastation to the planet.
Unlike some of Land Rover’s other achievements this year, the 9HP automatic transmission isn’t being marketed just for large vehicles or special-purpose automobiles, but for passenger vehicles as well. Land Rover intends to use this transmission in all of its future vehicles, which will provide a quieter, more comfortable ride at higher cruising speeds. A “skip-shift” feature of the transmission will allow faster deceleration times due to quick shifting during acceleration (or deceleration) while a responsive driving mechanism will ensure that the proper gear is engaged based on driving behavior.
The almost imperceptible gliding between gears, unlike the sequential downshifting of a 6-speed automatic transmission, means more torque and more power. This translates to more practical uses in off-road environments, such as rock climbing and wading through deep water. The extra traction that the 9HP will provide to Land Rover’s series of SUVs and other off-road terrain vehicles is elegantly balanced with the frictionless support offered by its quick gear-switching mechanisms. Other advanced technologies of the 9HP consist of systems that monitor the driver’s behavior and anticipate whether the driver needs more power or is about to downshift. Additionally, if the vehicle is moving too fast to downshift to the request gear, the 9HP transmission will delay the request until the speed drops, improving the overall performance of the engine and preventing any expensive damage that would generally occur over the long haul when compared to a traditional 6-speed transmission.
While a new transmission with just one extra gear may not sound like a huge breakthrough, it will dramatically improve the performance and safety expected from passengers in all Land Rover vehicles. Eventually, the 9HP will undoubtedly make its way into the hoods of vehicles produced by other manufacturers as well, inevitably creating a new standard in automotive technology. This is yet another example of Land Rover’s commitment to leading the way into the future of the automotive industry.
Kate Thompson is a banker who enjoys writing in her free time. She spends weekends contributing to the community paper or visiting a Land Rover dealer to test the latest models available.