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Land Rover Defender VDS automatic: the stepless Landy

VDS Getriebe GmbH
Land Rover Defender VDS automatic
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Anyone who is often out and about in difficult terrain knows the advantages of an automatic transmission. Uninterrupted tractive power, optimal, situation-specific translation, elimination of the mechanical coupling as a possible source of defects and, last but not least, of course, greater ease of use. In the off-road vehicle sector, the classic automatic converter is almost exclusively offered for this purpose, infinitely variable variomatic transmissions were just as unsuccessful here as the more modern automatic double clutch transmissions, which are not suitable for the high loads in off-road use. A new approach is now coming from Austria: a continuously variable planetary gear transmission that is to find its way from the commercial vehicle sector to the off-road vehicle scene. As a test vehicle for the new transmission concept d he VDS Getriebe GmbH is the Land Rover Defender.

Defender with stepless automatic

As a highly all-terrain off-roader, the Defender offers the perfect basis to present the advantages of the continuously variable automatic transmission. 'Variable Twin Planet', or VTP for short, is what the developers call the gearbox and thus also provide the functional description: a double planetary set at the gearbox output is the heart of the new gearbox. The VTP transmission works as a so-called power-split transmission. This means that in addition to the planetary gear set, an additional hydrostatic unit is installed, which takes over the wheel drive at low speeds via an oil pump and a hydraulic motor driven by it. A functionally similar design can be found in the hybrid passenger car from Toyota, but with a different objective and an electric instead of a hydraulic motor.

VDS originally developed the VTP gearbox for agricultural utility vehicles; such gearboxes have long been standard in the tractor sector . The smaller design compared to such commercial vehicle transmissions, as used in the Land Rover Defender test vehicle, brings the advantages of this technology to the off-road vehicle sector for the first time.

The best of two worlds

Particularly noteworthy for off-road drivers: the VTP gearbox completely eliminates the greatest shortcoming of a conventional automatic converter, the low achievable engine braking effect on steep downhill drives. Due to the permanent connection between the engineand transmission, the full engine braking effect can be used to a standstill. On the mountain, the VTP transmission enables the vehicle to move off without interrupting tractive power, even at low engine speeds. The stepless ratio also means that the transfer case with the off-road ratio is no longer necessary - there is only a choice between forward and reverse (implemented in the test vehicle via the center console with buttons), a longitudinal lock for the rigid connection of both axles is also integrated. A cruise control is also integrated in the VTP transmission.

The VTP transmission for off-road vehicles is currently still in trial operation; the Defender is the first test vehicle. Accordingly, the manufacturer has not yet given any information on possible prices in series production. The gearbox is designed for an input torque of up to 450 Newton meters and input speeds of up to 3,600 rpm, which is primarily predestined for diesel off-road vehicles.

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