What Is CVT Transmission?by Geoffrey St. Marie
Technology is constantly changing, and the Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT) is an example of one such advancement (an advancement that offers a striking divergence from the automotive technology of previous generations). The CVT is a common feature in the expanding hybrid market.
The acronym CVT refers to a continuously variable transmission. The gears of a CVT transmission are quite different from those of a traditional automatic or standard transmission. In this sense, it does not contain the same form of "fixed-gear" setup that other transmissions typically employ.
Instead of a permanent set of gears (identified as a four-speed or five-speed transmission), the CVT derives its functioning from pulleys and belts that expand the number of gear-ratios possible. A CVT transmission allows the engine to produce more power and sustain it over a longer period of time. This is one reason why a CVT is frequently found in hybrid vehicles that are seeking to create power in new ways.
The primary benefit of a CVT, other than the power issue, is the way that it feels. For many vehicle operators, gear shifting with traditional transmissions may feel rough or overly punctuated. A CVT transitions between gears so rapidly and efficiently that the driver rarely senses these effects.