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Would a type of Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) be a viable and advantageous transmission system when implemented in a Formula Student (FS) car?


Project Summary

This project evaluates the use of a CVT in a Formula Student application, as a replacement for a traditional stepped gearbox transmission. The traditional gearbox has many flaws and inefficiencies that a CVT can improve upon, but as yet it is not a widely used transmission solution. This is generally due to a stigma on the part of the consumer, but slowly they are becoming more and more popular with major car companies creating their own versions to satisfy the customer. The project analyses the viability of a CVT to replace a traditional gearbox; with viability referring to a cost/benefits ratio when compared to the usual transmission. Does a CVT provide enough benefits compared to its costs? This is the primary question that needed to be answered along with a recommendation or otherwise to the FS team to use a CVT in the future.

In general the answer was yes. The CVT had many benefits over the gearbox with very few if any real drawbacks. Benefits included increased acceleration performance, good driveability which promoted confidence and consistency; the innovative transmission solution could well score more points in the static tests of the FS competition. The final recommendation was that the author believes that from the evidence at hand, the FS team should consider the use of a CVT in a future car as it represents a clear benfit over the current gearbix system.

Drive Clutch

drive clutch



Chris Swallow


EMAIL: C dot J dot Swallow at warwick dot ac dot uk