Q&A with CVT development researcher September 29th, 2009

By Kia BUZZ editorial team

Leading the global automotive market with CVT development

The Kia BUZZ editorial team recently interviewed researcher Hyun Cheol Kim of the Automatic Transmission Design Team which is in charge of development of the CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) used in the Forte LPI hybrid.

Researcher Hyun Cheol Kim (far left) in a meeting with his colleagues

Researcher Hyun Cheol Kim (far left) in a meeting with his colleagues

What prompted the development of the CVT?
A technologically advanced transmission that delivers fuel efficiency is a must for an environmentally-friendly vehicle. In particular, hybrid vehicles require close cooperative development of the motor, battery, engine and transmission due to their integrated control systems. That’s why we decided to step up to the challenge of designing our own fuel efficient CVT and develop a control system in-house.

What are the strengths and characteristics of the newly developed CVT?
Regular CVTs feature a torque converter but we applied a wet launch clutch to enhance fuel economy and vehicle fitment. In particular, instead of using a dual mass flywheel (DMF) and two clutches like rival automakers, we secured superior shift quality by employing a single mass flywheel (SMF) and one clutch – a sure sign of our world-class technology.


Tell us about any memorable episodes during the CVT’s development.
Since the CVT attracted so much attention from inside and outside the country, not to mention inside the company, there were numerous test demonstrations for company executives. I remember always rushing to install the latest and most updated specs for the test drives. Also, our development schedule, already short to begin with, was pushed up by three months. This meant that everyone showed up at work on the weekends. I still remember the incredible sense of accomplishment we felt whenever we made improvements and found solutions.

Any last words?
We have to look beyond the technologies of peers and come up with the most creative ideas and new technologies in order to survive in today’s era of cutthroat competition. I am grateful that we had the opportunity to make a small contribution toward Kia’s future with the independent development of the CVT. I am confident that our experiences in developing such technologies will help propel Kia’s status as a world-leading automaker.

  • Gary

    Would like to see the CVT in the next kia cerato koup! And Make sure it comes to Australia!! Kia cars would look good with CVT.

  • Hello Gary,
    We are very sorry for late reply.

    CVT is currently being explored for future generations of Kia vehicles.
    A 6-speed variant is also on the radar!


  • This is good info! Where else can if ind out more?? Who runs this joint too? Keep up the good work :)

  • Anonymous

    What about now? Still just the 6 speed automatic? You should really make a CVT for the Soul, Sportage, Rio, Forte and Optima to enhance efficiency. Also, PZEV emissions instead of SULEV.

  • kwacko@earthlink.net

    If you do some research and ask any transmission shop they will tell you ALL CVT transmissions are problemmatic !! They are only used in light weight vehicles since they do not hold up!! The Versa from Nissan – MANY problem, The Saturn vehicles with CVT all with expensive issues!! Nothing beats a regular automatic transmission 5 or 6 speed with lock up converter. And besides who wants a transmisssion with a belt – like a lawn mower…No joke!! They are all cheap to make and just cheap designs…All FACTS!! Welcome to the future!! lol…But TRUE!