Manufacturers like General Motors or Honda are developing what they see as the transmission of the future: an automatic gearbox with three clutches and 11 relations
For the “regular” customer, the cutting edge of the technology in terms of automatic transmissions, will be in double clutch boxes with ratios that can go up to 10 speeds. But automakers such as North American General Motors (GM) or Japanese Honda seem to be already one step ahead. This is because, according to the British Car Magazine, both will be working in a new 11-speed automatic gearbox, but with three clutch systems.
According to the same publication, the advantages of this new solution, which is still under development, are due to a fuel saving due to the greater number of relations, around 5%, while ensuring a better use of the best track engine speed – that is, the one in which the maximum efficiency is reached, with the least waste. At the same time, the triple clutch ensures faster speeds between each speed change, making the entire system more continuous and progressive.
At a time when, for example, Porsche stands out for having a seven-speed manual gearbox, while manufacturers such as Ford, GM and Lexus already have commercialized dual-clutch 10-speed transmissions, not to mention the one with the increasing spread of solutions such as the seven-way DCT or the nine-speed automatic, the emergence of a new transmission such as that which Honda and GM will be developing turns out to be also a response to increasingly restrictive regulations In terms of emissions, which are set to take effect in 2025. Although in this case meeting the targets, without curtailing what may be the full response of the engines.
While there are still no dates for the debut of this new transmission solution, other manufacturers are also trying to make their way. Starting with the well-known German ZF transmission supplier, which has already advanced the possibility that, within three to five years, six-speed gearboxes could have a coupled electric motor, capable of not only helping as a starting ratio or with maneuverability at lower speeds, but also as reverse gear, by reversing the polarity of the electric motor.
Along with the ZF, the Italian supplier Graziano is already testing a robotic solution, which includes a stepped electric motor, as a way to cancel the inertia existing in the passages of the changes and eliminate the rigid mesh that is usually felt.
With tighter standards in terms of fuel consumption and emissions, which come into force as early as 2025, automatic transmissions can thus be one of the elements that can help car manufacturers to stay law-abiding. Without, having to kill the golden egg hen – the pleasure of driving.