Transmission specialist Antonov Automotive Technologies plans to use the power of two to help raise the operating efficiency of both conventional and hybrid vehicles. Presenting its innovative dual-stage mechanical module (AAM) concept to an Society of Automotive Engineers powertrain symposium in San Antonio, Texas, this week, Operations Director Chris Baylis outlined how this relatively low-cost bit of hardware could be implemented on a variety of supplemental subsystems in ways that would benefit individuals as well as commercial fleets.

"Maximizing the overall operating efficiency with fixed-drive alternators, water pumps, superchargers, indeed any crankshaft driven or electric motor ancillary is becoming more and more difficult," says Baylis. "At high engine speeds this can result in unacceptable losses or even excessive speeding outside their most efficient operating range." By pairing any or all of those critical components with an AAM device, Baylis claims those issues can be addressed in real time, and in a way that more closely matches the specific powertrain requirements while offering potential gains in the emissions department, as well.

Essentially, Antonov's module is a self-controlling automatic two-speed mechanical gearset activated by a combination of centrifugal force and axial thrust of its internal gears under load. Spawned from a system designed 20 years ago by Roumen Antonov, the real-world appeal of the latest AAM lies in its inherent "tunability," a characteristic that also eliminates the need for any external hydraulic or electronic controls.

Already working on OEM applications for its AAM hardware, Baylis claims that conventional vehicles could see as much as a five percent gain in fuel economy by applying dual-stage technology. Those gains could be further magnified in the case of supercharged applications, which would permit the use of relatively smaller-displacement engines with no loss in performance and lower CO2 output. The AAM package also shows potential for hybrid vehicles, where Baylis says dual-stage tweaking could yield as much as an 18 percent electrical energy savings on the stop/start system demands, all of which can be reapplied to battery-charging duties.

Antonov also is developing on a dedicated version of its AAM module for use in pure electric vehicles. It would be incorporated into the motor or the transmission/transaxle to create a transparent and super-efficient two-speed system that would enhance performance while eliminating the need for any active controller because all operating parameters would be determined at the initial design stage.

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