Torotrak, the UK-based technology company behind toroidal Infinitely Variable Transmission (IVT) technology, has announced that it expects IVT-equipped vehicles to be in series production next year. However, the apparent breakthrough is with an off-highway customer rather than volume automotive.

The company also announced that it is making progress with the major international car companies but details were thin on the ground. Torotrak explained that, ‘As they move closer to the point of production commitment we are bound increasingly by their requirement for high levels of confidentiality across all aspects of our business’.

In a statement the company said: “This recent progress has resulted from work that has taken place between Torotrak, Koyo, our licensee and key partner on materials technology, and Equos, the new-product development subsidiary of the world’s largest independent manufacturer of automatic transmissions [Aisin]. The fact that we can report the involvement of Equos to you is is a clear indication of the high level of endorsement that Torotrak’s technology now receives from the global automotive transmission community.

The constant demand from the world’s car-makers for new technology which provides clear customer benefits whilst being smaller, lighter and cheaper has driven our joint project objectives with Equos and Koyo.

This has resulted in a transmission which is 10% smaller in size than the model showcased at the Tokyo show. These improvements have been incorporated into the programme with Equos and we can confirm that prototype transmissions of this latest design will be on test rigs and installed in target test vehicles by the end of 2004.”

Dick Elsy, chief executive said: “We have achieved our aim of endorsement of our technology at the highest decision making levels in the automotive industry. We are now firmly in the joint product planning phase of the car companies and their suppliers, the transmission manufacturers. In parallel with this we have developed our technology to target the agricultural and construction equipment industry to broaden Torotrak’s product portfolio. Pending successful prototype testing we expect IVT equipped vehicles to be in series production next year.”