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Report: GM considering CVTs to boost small car MPGs

by Mark Kleis

As CAFE requirements continue to loom, GM is reportedly considering reviving a technology it let die in 2005 in an effort to boost fuel economy.

It was just five years ago that General Motors pulled the plug on its attempt to using continuously variable transmissions in its small cars to help boost fuel economy, but new reports suggest the technology may live again at The General.

As automakers continue to receive ever more stringent requirements from the U.S. government regarding lower emissions and higher fleet-wide fuel economy averages, automakers are having to consider every available technology that can help boost miles per gallon. At GM, Autoweek says executives are mulling the idea of reviving the use of CVT transmissions for use on small cars instead of traditional automatic transmissions, despite the technology being canceled after use on three small cars in 2005.

More specifically, the CVT technology would likely be applied to vehicles such as the upcoming Chevrolet Spark, the upcoming all-new Aveo and the recently arrived Cruze, according to the CEO of GM Daewoo auto and technology, Mike Arcamone.

GM has set a target goal of boosting fuel economy by a full 10 percent - or more - by its next full refresh cycle, and the automaker says CVT transmission would be one "quick and easy" fix, according to Sohn Dongyoun, VP of engineering for GM's joint small- and minicar development with Daewoo.

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