Hyundai announced a new six-speed automatic transmission for upcoming hybrid cars at its annual International Powertrain Conference in Namyang, South Korea.

The carmaker says it was able to integrate almost all of the hybrid components--including an electric motor--into the transmission, increasing efficiency and reducing weight.

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In addition to the integrated electric motor, Hyundai eliminated the torque converter, and used a clutch with fewer discs.

It says this helps reduce drag and more efficiently transfers power from the engine to the drive wheels.

2015 Hyundai Sonata

2015 Hyundai Sonata

The new transmission also uses an electric oil pump, which eliminates the energy losses related to using the engine to operate a mechanical pump.

Since the flow of hydraulic fluid is no longer tied to engine speed, the pump's operation can also be optimized for specific conditions.

Withe fewer components, the new transmission is also lighter than the unit it replaces, weighing around 286 pounds, according to Hyundai.

The company says its new transmission will be used in future hybrid cars, including a hybrid version of the recently-redesigned Sonata mid-size sedan.

This will replace the current hybrid model, which continues to use the previous-generation body while the rest of the 2015 Hyundai Sonata lineup is all-new.

2015 Hyundai Sonata Eco

2015 Hyundai Sonata Eco

Hyundai is also expected to offer a plug-in hybrid model as well, and this will almost certainly use the redesigned six-speed automatic too.

Both the hybrid and plug-in hybrid Sonata variants could debut next year as 2016 models.

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They'll be followed by a redesigned Kia Optima hybrid and a plug-in hybrid, both based on the upcoming next-generation version of the Optima.

The current Sonata Hybrid and Optima Hybrid both use the same powertrain and platform, and its likely the redesigned models will as well.


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