Recently, I discussed about a new 8-speed automatic transmission coming from ZF, that could possibly be into a future Ram Heavy Duty pickup. Well, that new “Powerline” 8-speed automatic transmission isn’t the only thing making news at ZF and which could be coming to future Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) vehicles.
ZF has confirmed that mass production of its fourth-generation of its 8-speed automatic will begin in the 2022 calendar year. The supplier also announced that FCA has asked it to deliver its new 8-speed transmission for its rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive vehicles with front-longitudinal drive configuration (or front-engine, rear-wheel-drive based platforms). So why is this important? The all-new fourth-generation 8-speed automatic is expected to play a big part of the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) and mild hybrid electric vehicle) (MHEV) lineup within the FCA portfolio, including the L-Series (Dodge Challenger and Dodge Charger) replacements which are slated to begin production around the same time frame.
The newest version of the 8-speed automatic will still have four planetary sets and five sets of shift elements, which means it will continue to be an ultra-reliable transmission while it is evolving and being improved. The highly anticipated 48-volt electrified MHEV version is expected to have a ranking between 440 lb.-ft (597 Nm) and 735 lb.-ft (997Nm) of torque available, while the PHEV version is expected to bring up 330 lb.-ft (447 Nm) of torque to the table.
Thanks to all the improvements made, the fourth-generation 8HP series will be able to be coupled with an engine as small as 1.8-liters of displacement, depending on the application and transmission version. This means FCA could have a wider variety of engine and transmission combinations that can be used for their rear-wheel-drive based applications both domestically and abroad as emissions rules and regulations change. The ability to use smaller displacement engines that produce fewer emissions will ensure that future performance engines can stay in the lineup. Especially important to brands like Dodge, Alfa Romeo, and Maserati.
As for the front-wheel-drive based applications, FCA Italy is working with another German supplier, Getrag. FCA is looking for Getrag to supply a 7-speed, wet dual-clutch, mild-hybrid transmission. According to sources close to MoparInsiders.com, the transmission could be an updated version of Getrag’s 7DCT300 transmission. This transmission is expected to have an integrated electric motor capable of 15 to 25 kW of power on a 48-volt mild-hybrid system with the possibility of running up to 80 mph on just electric power alone.
One of the most impressive features of the current 7DCT300 transmission is its low weight of just under 200 lbs. This transmission also has small engines in mind, like the 1.5-liter GSE engine that we discussed back in October 2018. That engine is expected to replace the 1.4-liter FIRE turbocharged engine in several FCA vehicles across the globe. The lightweight combination could offer more performance from FCA global small car portfolio.