In the ever competitive world of the auto industry, car manufactures are always looking for ways to improve the performance of their vehicles. The recent trend is to produce fuel efficient vehicles as the public demand for these vehicles increases.
Forced by increasing prices of gasoline and increasing awareness of the global warming thereat, consumers have turned away from larger vehicles such as pickups and sport utility vehicles. In order to meet the demand of consumers, car manufacturers have been developing technologies to make their vehicle more fuel efficient. In Europe, the trend is to develop cleaner diesel engines since diesel fuel is cheaper than gasoline. In the United States, hybrid electric cars are more popular with Toyota and Honda hybrids leading the way. For Nissan though, they choose to exploit the use of continuously variable transmissions (CVT) which has proven to have the capability to reduce fuel consumption.
The continuously variable transmission or CVT is originally conceptualized by the artist Leonardo da Vinci in the 1940's. Although the CVT was conceptualized as early as that, it was not until 1886 that the first patent for the CVT was filed. After years of development, the continuously variable transmission finally became popular in the auto industry, thanks to the efforts of Nissan in developing their own CVT.
The first Nissan auto model to be equipped with a CVT is the Nissan March introduced in 1992. The said model was sourced from fellow Japanese car brand Subaru. After some years, Nissan complemented the CVT with a torque converter to increase its efficiency. One of the advantages of the CVT over conventional manual and automatic transmissions is that it maximizes the torque produced by the engine.
It is known that CVTs provide an infinite number of gear ratios within a finite range. This means that the engine's output can be harnessed efficiently with limited waste of power. This, on the other hand, translates to less fuel consumed by the engine to drive a vehicle.
Currently, there are already eleven Nissan models offered with the continuously variable transmission. These auto models are marketed throughout the world. One of the Nissan models equipped with the CVT is the Nissan Altima which is a mid-size sedan and this has replaced the Stanza in Nissan's lineup in 1993. The Altima is initially marketed as a compact car until 2001 but in 2002, it was upgraded to become a mid-size car.