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How does the CMAX transmission work?

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24 replies to this topic

#21 OFFLINE   stolenmoment


    New Member

  • C-MAX Hybrid Member
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  • Region:U.S. Northeast
  • LocationBoston
  • My C-MAX's Year:2013
  • Current Vehicle:Maxwell Smart

Posted 15 July 2017 - 01:14 PM

I puzzled over this for a long time, and the simplest way I can lay it out is this:


The parts of a planetary gear system are ring (the outside), planets (the little whirly bits inside), and the sun (the central shaft).  These are always engaged with each other.  In our cars, the ICE is connected to the sun gear at a fixed ratio, the wheels and one motor are connected to the ring, also at a fixed ratio.  The axes of the planetaries are connected by a yoke to the second motor.


Under electric drive, the ICE and second motor are unenergized, the planetaries spin freely.  A load is placed on the either motor for regen.  The real trick is that the second motor controls the "gear ratio" between the ICE and the ring and thus the wheels.


All of those modes are ratios of thrust or drag among the ICE and the two motors.  For instance, to start the ICE, the motor on the planetaries spins against the ring to turn the ICE.  Propulsion by ICE has the planetaries held still (the motor can do that), so that the power from the ICE transfers through to the ring.  Varying the power fed to the planetaries can allow all three sources to contribute torque to the wheels.


Planetary gear systems are hard to think about, I think because thrust and drag can come from any of the components.

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#22 OFFLINE   joshg678


    C-Max Hybrid Member

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  • Region:U.S. Northeast
  • LocationEarth
  • My C-MAX's Year:2016
  • Current Vehicle:16 C-Max Hybrid

Posted 15 July 2017 - 02:45 PM

FYI - My mileage in the 2016 for the year is 44.9 MPG and for this last week is 47.5 MPG. I do not hypermile, so these numbers represent driving normal if not aggressively.

I'm currently at 45.6 on my 2016. I never use ECO select as I can't stand the Prius Button.

I've had two large trips on the interstate with it (1,700 miles total) where we averaged about 38 on.
My daily driving my trips range 47-56MPG

Edited by joshg678, 15 July 2017 - 02:46 PM.

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#23 OFFLINE   obob


    C-Max Hybrid Member

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  • Region:Decline
  • LocationUS
  • My C-MAX's Year:2013
  • Current Vehicle:C-MAX SE

Posted 16 July 2017 - 02:41 PM

I am still working on trying to understand and am making progress.  Thanks for the help.


This video helped me a lot.


#24 OFFLINE   joshg678


    C-Max Hybrid Member

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  • Region:U.S. Northeast
  • LocationEarth
  • My C-MAX's Year:2016
  • Current Vehicle:16 C-Max Hybrid

Posted 18 July 2017 - 07:54 AM

It's very similar to a differential on a car. I think every transmission should be like our cmax. It's just so cool imo
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#25 OFFLINE   djc


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  • Region:U.S. Great Lakes
  • LocationMinnesota
  • My C-MAX's Year:2013
  • Current Vehicle:C-max SE

Posted 18 July 2017 - 10:28 AM

For me a main attraction of the C-max was the high level of ingenious technology, coupled with a comfortable and useful body shape.  Regular drive trains just seem dumb.  The things I would like in my next vehicle are bigger battery, an electric cabin pre-heater operated off the same plug-in as the engine block heater, and, most important, AWD. 


Regarding Ford engine control software updates:  it seems likely that these would be aimed at reliability improvements, if possible, rather than mpg.  A slight mpg increase will hardly be noticed in the noise - and doesn't do anything for Ford.  A failed transmission will be noticed all around and can easily cost Ford quite a bit.

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