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For the longest time I have been reading about Toyota's "planetary gear" CVT, and wondered how it works compared to a traditional belt type CVT like in the Murano.

Here is the best article I've found which describes exactly how Toyota's eCVT (used in all their hybrids) functions. In essence, its a single speed transmission that controls the "ratios" (output speeds) by having an electric motor spin the output shaft faster or slower according to power demands. Very clever. This allows Toyota to have a "virtual CVT" without the torque limitations of the traditional belt drive CVT. It makes me wonder what the hybrid Altima (using Toyota's hybrid synergy drive) will have - a belt CVT or Toyota's electronic CVT?

Note that this is absolutely different from the toroidal CVTs used in JDM Nissans, which are in fact true CVTs that also use metal gears (but vary the ratio based on the degree to which various gearsets mesh together under hydraulic pressure).

http://www.cleangreencar.co.nz/page/prius-transmission
 

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Eric,

very interesting article. I work for a company that manufactures best AC variable speed drives in the world. From fractional HP to >10,000HP. And I do know what an electic motor can do. Toyota is ingenious with their drive system. let's hope battery life and prices get better and we will have a solution.

I think though that diesel hybrid would be even better.
 
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