Honda patents an 11-speed gearbox
Honda recently patented a 11-speed triple clutch gearbox at the Japan Patent Office. The new transmission is expected to be inclined towards better efficiency rather than focusing on performance.
Manufacturers have been pushing the envelope when it comes to transmissions since a few years with Mercedes-Benz introducing a 9-speed gearbox in their latest generation cars in India as well. Ford and GM have already implemented a 10-speed transmission in their cars sold in the USA to adhere to Corporate Average Fuel Economy laws. Currently, the cars sold in North America are mandatory to have a combined fuel efficiency of 29 miles per gallon (12.3kmpl) and the limit is set to increase to 54.5 miles per gallon (23kmpl), by the end of 2025. Last year, Ford filed a patent for a 11-speed gearbox and now it is Honda’s turn to do so. However, Honda has upped the ante with an additional clutch. The technology is claimed to make the shifts smoother, while reducing the lag between gearshifts and at the same time, allowing maximum torque to be fed to the wheels. The triple clutch will also allow for the gearbox to select optimum gears at given speeds thus improving the fuel efficiency of the car. The architecture of the transmission is not yet known. Generally, a dual shaft is required for a DCT, but for triple clutch, the architecture is not known yet. An extra clutch in the gearbox increases the number of parts but the load on each clutch is set to reduce. It will be interesting to see which cars in the Honda line-up get this gearbox to begin with.
As modern carmakers shift their focus on electric motors, it is time for the gasoline based engines to become greener and efficient to compete with their modern counterparts. Global auto manufacturers will push for greener and leaner technology in this hybrid era of automobiles. We expect other manufacturers to follow Honda’s footsteps sooner rather than later.