Popular articles

Probably every transmission repair specialist was keen on LEGO constructions or at least enjoyed making some minor things with their hands. Here's the game taken to a new level of creativity!

Modern auto industry is full of sophisticated drivetrain technologies which are supposed to make your driving experience even more pleasant and trouble-free. Despite a great abundance of sophisticated technical solutions, it is highly likely that very few people know a transmission solution operating like a manual CVT.

Over recent years engineers developed a lot of gear shifting solutions for different car brands, which may seem a bit unusual for oldtime drivers. In this article we will review the most peculiar gear stick technologies and provide video materials related to these technologies.

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Peculiar Gear Shifting Solutions in Automatic Transmissions


Gear Shifting Technologies in Automatic Transmissions

For many decades, gear shifting sticks didn’t differ much in terms of design. Everything primarily depended on the type of transmission (manual or automatic). It was a determening factor when dealing with selection of gear sticks (gear shift knobs/selectors) for modern vehicles. Previously, the main difference was that the gear stick could be located not only between two front seats, but also on the steering column. But in current times car manufacturers can try new things in the area of gear shifting mechanisms, thanks to the development of new powertrain design solutions and spread of electronic technologies in the auto industry.

Nowadays automatic transmissions have very similar design, but may significantly differ in performance characteristics. But it’s hard to say the same about the structure of gear shifters in automatic transmissions. Over recent years engineers developed a lot of gear shifting solutions for different car brands, which may seem a bit unusual for oldtime drivers. In this article we will review the most peculiar gear stick technologies and provide video materials related to these technologies.


Button gear selector

The gearshifting using a button is becoming more and more popular in the auto industry. But in fact, this technology was offered by Chrysler engineers in the 1950s as an experimental solution for some car models. In the following years other American car manufacturers tried to place the shift button on the steering wheel. Unfortunately, in those years this technology didn’t gain much popularity. But recently this technology caught the fancy of many engineers working for major car manufacturing companies. Initially, this idea was picked up by producers of expensive supercars and luxury cars. Later this trend was joined by such famous brands as Acura, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, GMC and Honda.


Button gear selectors continue growing in popularity all over the world. Many drivers using automatic transmissions with button gear selectors admit that this solution for changing speeds is much more comfortable, although it requires some time to get used to it. Therefore, it is quite possible that this approach to gear shifting in automatic transmissions will become the main one for the whole auto industry.



Gear shifter with unusual design

Starting from the second generation of the hybrid car Toyota Prius, automobile engineers have begun experimenting with the form of gearshift levers in automatic transmissions. For example, it has come into fashion to install mini gear sticks instead of common size levers. It is now possible thanks to electronic systems, which are responsible for gear shifting in modern automatic transmissions. This type of shifting solution is implemented in Nissan Leaf, where the lever looks like a computer mouse.




Monostable gear shifter

A monostable gearshift lever (especially in the form of a joystick) has become popular since its first appearance in BMW cars. But this shifting solution attracted the most attention after release of new generation of 5-series. As a result monostable gear sticks began to gain popularity all over the world. For example, General Motors (GM) also equipped some of its cars (Buick LaCrosse and Chevrolet Bolt EV) with such shifters.Audi has been using classic gear sticks for a long time, but also shows much interest in new technologies.



Rotary gear selector

It may be surprising, but this type of shifter was also developed long time ago. Back in 1950s this solution was named as "Dial-A-Gear". Firstly, this rotary gear selector was used for classic Jaguar XF models. As in case with the button gear selector, this gear shifting solution wasn’t fully integrated in those years. But today, in time of severe competition, automakers try to make their cars look more exquisite and gear shifting rotary selectors turn out to be just what is needed. In some exclusive luxury cars such rotary selectors not only shift gears, but also play the role of an expensive interior decoration. For example, in some luxury cars such gear selectors are made of precious metals and encrusted with briliants.




Shift knob (gear shifter) on steering column

Mercedes-Benz will probably become the 1-st auto manufacturer in the 21-st century to equip all its cars with steering column shifters for automatic transmissions. In appearance this shifting knob may look like the technology, which was used in 50s and 80s of the last century (especially in the USA). But unlike old steering column shifters, Mercedes solution has a number of peculiar features. First of all, Mercedes gear shifter has a much smaller size. It is the same in size as a shift knob for side blinkers or wiper blades. In addition, modern gear shifters remain in place when the automatic transmission mode is selected, i.e. the shifter does not change speeds mechanically, but performs it with the help of electronics. Therefore, a driver does not need to move the gear shifter to select required speed, but only chooses it on the screen.



Unique gear shifter (drive selector) in BMW i3

The electric car BMW i3 has a unique gear shifting technology, which can not be found in any other car. This unusual shifter is mounted on the steering column of the electric car at a certain angle. The drive selector can be rotated in different directions that allows a driver to select required gear. Most likely this design of the shifter in BMW i3 remained from the concept car, which was introduced long before the appearance of the BMW i3 production version. BMW engineers decided to leave this futuristic gear shifter as a part of unusual interior design for the production car.






Popular articles

Probably every transmission repair specialist was keen on LEGO constructions or at least enjoyed making some minor things with their hands. Here's the game taken to a new level of creativity!

Modern auto industry is full of sophisticated drivetrain technologies which are supposed to make your driving experience even more pleasant and trouble-free. Despite a great abundance of sophisticated technical solutions, it is highly likely that very few people know a transmission solution operating like a manual CVT.

Over recent years engineers developed a lot of gear shifting solutions for different car brands, which may seem a bit unusual for oldtime drivers. In this article we will review the most peculiar gear stick technologies and provide video materials related to these technologies.

Only few people know about transmission concepts which were popular 70-90 years ago. For men of today, these gearboxes may seem very unusual and weird, but even now some gearboxes that date back to those years are quite competitive in comparison with modern transmissions.

Nowadays Extroid CVTs are commonly known as “toroidal” due to the fact that the working surface of driving and driven discs in this transmission has the form of a torus. Extroid CVT is not a V-belt transmission, but a friction drive CVT.

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