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What Is CVT Transmission? And How Does It Work?

CVT or Continuously Variable Transmission is a very unique kind of automatic transmission, one where there’s no use of fixed gear ratios, but instead a belt and gears to indicate gear shifting.

CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission): How does it work?

Unlike conventional automatic gearboxes which have fixed gear ratios and actuators & sensors to engage them automatically, the CVT does not possess any gears, just a belt connected to two pulleys with variable diameters. One end of the pulley is connected to the crankshaft of the engine (driving/input pulley) and the other end of the pulley (driven/output pulley) is connected to the wheels/drive shaft, hence how the power delivery works.

During motion, the belts run slow and hence making the diameter of the pulleys small, and as speed increase and the belt moves faster thereby increasing the motion of the belt making the vehicle move faster. This adjustment of the driving pulleys is how the CVT continuously varies its gear ratios and the transmission of torque from engine to the wheels, hence how its name came to be.

Also Read: What Is Torque Converter Automatic Transmission? And How Does It Work?

Advantages of CVT:

  • No gear ratios means seamless up-shifts and downshifts with virtually zero lag.
  • Less power loss when compared to a conventional automatic transmission.
  • Greater fuel efficiency.
  • Lesser moving parts in comparison to other automatic transmissions so reduced maintenance and issues.
  • Perfect for city driving especially in jam packed metropolitan cities.

Disadvantages of CVT:

  • Power delivery is very linear so quick overtakes are not possible, best for light footed driving.
  • Not great for driving enthusiasts.
  • Steep increment of around Rs 1 lakh in cars over manual transmissions.