Theoretically, stepless transmission (CVT according to the English Continuously Variable Transmission) is the ideal, they are nevertheless able to offer the engine the best possible translation at any time. This means that the engine can always operate at the speed at which the maximum power is applied during strong acceleration, and the gearbox alone ensures continuous speed by continuously adapting the gear ratio. Likewise, the engine can be operated at absolutely any speed in the range of maximum efficiency.


The most common feature in cars, motor scooters and snow mobiles is familiar with two pulleys and a connecting belt (often a chain replaces this belt). Each belt pulley is made up of two flat cones which are opposite each other. This results in a V-shaped groove in which the belt (also V-shaped) can run. In addition, one cone per pulley is axially displaceable, whereby the widths of the grooves can be adjusted. It is now the case that the belt, the width of which remains unchanged, must move radially outwards in the groove when the cones are pushed towards each other and slipped inwards, so that the cones are pulled apart. Of course, the pulleys can not be manipulated independently of one another, because of the fact that the belt has the same length, that a narrow groove on one cone pair is always accompanied by a wide groove on the other cone pair, and vice versa.
Within the limits dictated by the geometry of the transmission, an infinite number of translations are possible with this principle.


The DAF 600 from 1958 with its Variomatic was the first (post-war) car with an infinitely variable automatic. For the next 14 years - that is until the sale of DAF's car division - this gearbox remained the central element of all the models of the Dutch manufacturer. Starting from the 1980ern also other brands liked the stepless, because of the limited power transmission potential of the Riementriebe were equipped especially small cars with it. This is basically still the case today, but Audi and Nissan now have CVTs - but with chains instead of belts - which also deal with the six-cylinders of the upper middle class.

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