Automotive CVTs & Related Products
FTI specializes in the design, development and commercialization of Hydromechanical CVTs and Torque Vectoring Axles.

Hydromechanical CVTs

FTI's unique patented technology allows a vehicle's engine to function over its most efficient operating range, thereby greatly improving system efficiency. Concepts exist to suit engine powers ranging from 8 hp to 800 hp. Typical applications for this technology include, but are not limited to: passenger and commercial vehicles, hybrid vehicle drivetrains, all terrain vehicles (ATVs), construction and agricultural equipment, hydromechanical cooling fan drives, and flywheel energy storage devices. The FTI CVT architecture has great flexibility and can be arranged in many different configurations to suit the diverse range of vehicle layouts.

Unlike other types of continuously variable transmissions, there is virtually no limit to the torque capacity that the FTI CVT can handle. The design is scaleable to any power and torque input/output, and they are more compact and lighter than other types of CVT's of similar power. Basic low-cost traditional automotive manufacturing technology and materials are used, and the transmissions are highly suited to mass production. The FTI CVT technology can also be adapted to many other applications with resulting improvements to efficiency, performance, or both. Anywhere that a variable speed drive is required, an FTI CVT can be configured to provide the user with the optimum solution.
The heart of the FTI CVT is the unique hydrostatic pump/motor design. This proprietary technology offers outstanding power density when compared to standard commercially available hydrostatic units (HSU). In fact the FTI pump and motor assembly, including the valve body module, is approximately the same size and 1/2 the weight of just one commercially available motor of similar capacity.
300hp Automotive CVT being Dynamometer tested
300hp Automotive CVT

The FTI hydromechanical CVT technology has been in development for over 20 years. Many different designs have been built and tested for durability and performance, and the knowledge obtained has been incorporated into the latest configurations. Demonstrated performance exceeds current belt and traction CVTs and the technology provides additional functionality of hydraulic regeneration (energy recovery during braking and deceleration - ideal for city operation), high efficiency at all times (especially final ratio - ideal for highway operation) and exceptional low speed vehicle controllability (ideal for off-road operation). In short, the FTI CVT provides unmatched performance under any condition.

50/100hp FWD City Car CVT
70hp Fan Drive CVT
350hp RWD Passenger Vehicle CVT (2nd gen)

Current and recent programs include a 350hp, full-size RWD passenger vehicle CVT (second generation design, co-funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority - NYSERDA), which is being adapted for installation in a Ford F150 with hydraulic energy recovery, and 100hp City Car and military All Terrain Vehicle CVTs. A number of prototypes have been built and successfully field-tested in extreme conditions.

50/100hp FWD City Car undergoing Dynamometer testing
400hp Regenerative Motoring Dynamometer
Typical application for which FTI has designed CVTs:

Torque Vectoring Axles
The FTI proprietary pump and motor technology has also been extended to provide torque-vectoring functioning in passenger vehicle drivelines for enhanced dynamic stability. This allows the transmission output torque to be dynamically and continuously varied across the axle or between front and rear axles of an AWD vehicle. The overall objective is to provide an improvement in the “safe handling” limits of a vehicle. During cornering, it enables the rear axle to “overspeed” and then directs more torque to the outside rear wheel to generate inward yaw that helps to reduce the tendency for FWD and AWD vehicles to understeer. The system also stabilizes oversteer situations, such as when the throttle is abruptly shut while cornering. A number of manufacturers are already offering friction type torque vectoring features (whereby drive is modulated using clutches) in some of their vehicles, but only the FTI system offers differential locking capability.
HTVA for Sports Sedan
The friction type systems also generate significant heat in high dynamic conditions due to the necessity for the clutch plates to frequently slip during operation. This is not a problem in the FTI design, as all torque transmittal is performed using the high efficiency positive displacement hydraulic pump/motor units. Initially, only premium vehicles will incorporate torque vectoring axles due to the inherent extra complexity and cost but ultimately they are anticipated to be commonplace. The FTI hydromechanical torque vectoring technology offers advantages in packaging and performance and can also be integrated with a CVT. A prototype unit configured for use in a Ford Explorer has been successfully dynamometer tested and a number of more compact designs with improved functionality have been generated for other vehicles.
Prototype HTVA undergoing Dynamometer testing
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