Cleveland-based Eaton Corp. last week unveiled several new technologies in a ride-and-drive event with journalists at its Marshall proving grounds.

Included was an all-new electronic limited slip differential, called Ultra Posi, for front and rear-wheel drive vehicles that performs comparably to four-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive systems and provides up to a 10 percent savings in fuel economy. The new differential provides instant traction and stability under slippery road conditions and improves driver enjoyment under normal conditions.

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“Our engineering team is employing all the knowledge we have demonstrated as a global leader in developing electronic and mechanical locking and limited slip differentials for larger rear and four-wheel-drive systems that require added performance and utility, and applying it to the unique requirements of more compact, front-wheel-drive vehicles,“ said Chris Ostrander, vice president and general manager for Eaton Torque Controls. “We’re focused on the customers’ most critical issue – smaller packaging. This allows our customers to reduce vehicle weight up to 300 pounds, which translates into improved fuel economy and enhanced performance and safety for the end consumer.”

The new Ultra Posi differential is located inside the transaxle and receives input from the existing brake, wheel-speed, steering-wheel, throttle, yaw and lateral acceleration sensors to ensure each wheel is receiving sufficient torque. In the event of slippage it instantaneously engages a hydraulic power supply to transfer extra torque to the wheel with the most traction by modulating the differential from fully open to fully locked, and anywhere in between, depending on driving conditions.

“Our testing has shown a 20-30 percent improvement in managing over-steer with less brake intervention compared to comparably equipped all-wheel drive vehicles,” said Ostrander.

Eaton also announced that in addition to boosting engine performance, its superchargers can provide up to a five percent fuel savings and reduce emissions compared to competing technologies.

“We have won four new programs this year because of the advancements we’ve made to superchargers in overall performance and value compared to competing technologies, such as turbochargers,” said Darryl Niven, general manager, Eaton Supercharger Division. “Our superchargers are fuel-efficient, maintenance-free and provide flexibility in packaging space that makes them easily adaptable for use in a variety of engines.”

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Recent examples of the trend toward supercharging include:

* Nissan recently announced its 2011 1.2L, 3-cylinder Micra city car will be powered an engine with Eaton’s most advanced supercharger, the Twin Vortices Series. Nissan says the engine is “aiming to achieve the lowest level of fuel consumption in the world for a gasoline-powered engine,” and offers the engine power output equivalent to a 1.5L engine.
* China’s largest independent automaker, Chery Automobile Co. Ltd., will debut the first use of Eaton superchargers in China on three vehicles, the 2010 1.6S Tiggo, 1.3S A3 and Riich 1.3S G3.
* Volkswagen’s 2010 1.4L TSI Twincharger four-cylinder engine combines a supercharger with turbocharging, and won the International Engine of the Year Award for the second consecutive year.  The engine is used in more than eight Volkswagen models.
* The 2010 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid SUV features an Audi 3.0L V6 direct fuel- injection engine with Eaton’s TVS supercharger that produces 20 percent less carbon dioxide emissions compared to gas-only systems and achieves 26 mpg.
* The 2010 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid features a supercharged 3.0L TSI V6 engine that is shared with the automaker’s Audi brand and matched with a new 8-speed automatic transmission and an electric-hybrid system to provide 17 to 25 percent better fuel economy than a conventional Touareg.
* Audi will replace the 3.6-liter V-6 and the 4.2-liter V-8, in favor of two versions of the company’s relatively new 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 on its 2011 Q7 sport utility vehicle. The new supercharged V6 will provide 17 to 24 percent better fuel economy than the current 3.6L V6 and 4.2L V8 engines. 

Eaton is the worldwide leader in original equipment supercharger solutions. The first original equipment application of an Eaton supercharger debuted on the 1989 Ford Thunderbird Super Coupe.  Since, in addition to the vehicles listed above, Eaton superchargers have appeared on various Mercedes Benz models, the Buick Park Avenue Ultra, Buick Regal, Pontiac Grand Prix, Ford Mustang Cobra SVT, Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, Ford Lightening SVT, MINI Cooper S, Jaguar XKR, Range Rover Sport, Cadillac STS-V, Cadillac XLR-V, Chevrolet Cobalt SS and the Saturn Ion Redline.

Eaton’s TVS supercharger design was first introduced in 2008 on the Audi A6, Corvette ZR1, Cadillac CTS-V, Jaguar XJ XK XF and Range Rover vehicles and in addition to those mentioned earlier, appeared in 2010 on eight Audi models including the Audi S4 and S5.

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