Honda has registered a patent for a new 11-speed triple-clutch automatic gearbox; Japanese manufacturer currently uses CVT 'boxes in some cars
25 August 2016

Honda has filed a patent for a transmission system with 11 gears and three clutches.

The transmission has been designed to improve efficiency while decreasing the loss of torque when changing gear (something that can often occur in dual-clutch systems), as well as reducing shift times and allowing for gears to be skipped.

The manufacturer currently uses single-speed continuously variable transmissions (CVT) in its smaller cars. These gearboxes are renowned for being more fragile, so are better suited for smaller cars where simplicity and ease of use is key. Seeing as the new gearbox has been designed to increase efficiency, it could warrant usage on any number of models.

A source at Honda told Autocar: “Honda has patented a new triple-clutch, 11-speed transmission system, however, we’re unable to confirm the plans of its use.

“We have both the new Civic and new CR-V coming soon, but as it’s only just been patented, it’s very unlikely it’ll be on any batch of cars for a while.” 

Despite a patent being filed, it’s unclear as to whether it will even make production. If  Honda puts the new system into production and it’s a success, expect to see other manufacturers following suit.

Honda also confirmed there were currently no plans for the gearbox to come to the UK.

Currently, the 10-speed automatic transmission from Ford Motor Company and General Motors holds the record for the gearbox with the most gears. This transmission makes its debut in the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and Ford F-150 – both due in 2017.

Ford is reportedly said to also be working on an 11-speed gearbox.

Danni Bagnall

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Comments
11

25 August 2016
I wonder what the most fuel efficient number of gears will be. 25? 35?

25 August 2016
Throughout my life as a simple petrolhead Honda was always innovative and regarded as possibly the best engineering company in the world,
the news of the ground breaking gearbox along with other possibly innovations for the future, may mean that Honda has got its sights set on reclaiming its crown.

26 August 2016
Although Honda have patented the gearbox, it may never appear, but the key thing for the new gearboxes is keeping the engine in its most efficient zone as emissions are the industry's biggest test for the future.I drive a car with a eight speed auto box, I remember my Dad telling me that drivers will prefer column change gearboxes over floor mounted gear sticks.Honda has not made many mistakes throughout its history and if its eleven speed gearbox was released it would work perfectly.

25 August 2016
Since when have modern CVT gearboxes been 'renowned' for being fragile? ... there are thousands and thousands of Priuses with stratospheric mileages on them with no problems. And since when did 11 beat continuously variable? People may not like the unusual sensation of a CVT but to suggest it's not efficient is nonesense! Williams hooked a CVT upto a F1 Renault in 1993, it was so quick in testing the FIA banned it almost immediately ....

26 August 2016
CVT as a transmission isnt efficient. A belt and pulley CVT is only 88% efficient, not far off a normal Auto at 86% efficiency. A triple clutch gearbox like this will be 93-95% efficient, very close to a manual box at 95-97%. The economy gains with CVT come through being able to run the engine in a more efficient powerband. 11 gears will Mimic a CVT pretty effectively, couple with the lower transmission losses, economy could be equal.

25 August 2016
They'll have the 11 speed box, next they'll just need some customers...

25 August 2016
Autocar wrote:

The transmission has been designed to improve efficiency while decreasing the loss of torque when changing gear (something that can often occur in dual-clutch systems), as well as reducing shift times and allowing for gears to be skipped.

That's odd, twin clutch gearboxes were hailed as no loss of torque and fractions of second shift times. As a regular user of twin clutch, I am quite happy with just 6 gears. Prefer CVT for towns though.

26 August 2016
Toyota calls its hybrid geartrains e-CVTs but they're completely different to the belt and pulley systems used by Honda and Nissan. Hybrids from Toyota, Lexus, Ford and GM use a planetary gearset system with set gears and no belts. They're pretty much bulletproof with Camry Hybrid and Prius taxis running around for 300k miles. Usually the battery pack goes first while the transmission lasts forever.

26 August 2016
I accept that its mechanical efficiency may be better than a conventional auto or CVT, but at what price in weight and complexity. Personally I like the Toyota's e-CVT planetary gear arrangement which should be mechanically efficient, but which might not be applicable to non hybrids. Would it not be better to spend the effort on making an ic engine work over a slightly wider rev range, or just ditch it altogether in favour of an electric motor?

26 August 2016
I'm sure one of the advantages of a CVT is cost. A standard auto is normally a cost extra, dual clutch a bigger cost. So would I seriously believe that an 11 speed triple clutch would be going to smaller cars? Erm, no.

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