A new, innovative gearbox could hit the market soon

While two decades ago seven-speed transmissions for passenger cars were unheard of, they are quite common today. Actually, automatic transmissions have been receiving additional cogs on a regular basis, with several vehicles using eight- and nine-speed automatics. More recently, Ford and GM have announced plans to introduce a jointly-developed 10-cog unit, but a patent that Honda filed with the Japanese Patent Office suggests that in the future we might use transmissions with even more gears.

According to AutoGuide, the Japanese manufacturer filed a patent for a new 11-speed gearbox that will use three clutches (instead of just two). The patent describes a transmission that shifts quicker and delivers better fuel economy. The third clutch is also supposed to reduce the drop in torque that occurs during up shifts on a regular dual-clutch gearbox, but there’s no information as to how the unit actually works.

Also, there’s no mention of what type of vehicle this transmission would eventually be offered in, but it sounds like it could find a home in small, fuel economy-oriented cars. It could also be used on the company’s future sports cars, as well as in larger vehicles in need of better fuel economy. On the other hand, it might not make it on the market at all, as patents don’t always spawn mass-produced parts.

The patent was published on May 27, 2016, and is no longer available on the Japanese patent office’s website. Stick around for updates, we’ll be back as soon as we get fresh info.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

Although we have no clue whether this 11-speed transmission with three clutches will make it into production, Honda’s new patent is proof that automakers are constantly working on innovative technology for quicker, yet more fuel efficient cars. On the flipside, this "one extra gear makes for a better gearbox" strategy is becoming a bit ridiculous now and I can’t help but wonder if 2020 won’t bring the first 15-speed transmission. Jokes aside, I do hope that Honda’s new gearbox makes it into production and brings something revolutionary to the market.

Source: Autoguide

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