A patent filing has revealed that Honda is apparently hard at work on (or at least thinking about) a transmission that would pack an insane level of technology: 11 forward gears and three clutches all packaged together in one gearbox.
AutoGuide stumbled across the filing posted to the Japanese patent office and the site speculates that the transmission would make the most sense in a small, economy-oriented vehicle. A Japanese kei car might even make some sense for such a gearbox.
We’re not sure just what’s to come for this 11-speed automatic transmission, but the paperwork filed in Japan indicates that the third clutch would be used to fill in when torque briefly drops from during gear changes on a traditional dual-clutch.
Honda itself is a relative newcomer to dual clutch gearboxes—at least for passenger cars. Its Acura TLX utilizes an 8-speed dual-clutch unit that has come under some fire for its questionable shift quality. However, Honda’s motorcycle operations have utilized dual-clutch transmissions for years.
The current record-holder for the maximum number of gears in a regular production vehicle is the new 10-speed automatic developed by General Motors and Ford Motor Company that is debuting on both the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and the 2017 Ford F-150.
However, Ford is also said to be working on an 11-speed ‘box of its own, meaning the race to the top is definitely on.
For what it’s worth, Honda has committed tremendous resources to its CVTs lately, equipping almost all of its passenger car offerings with the efficiency-minded transmissions.