Why The Hell Is Honda Is Building An 11-Speed Triple-Clutch Transmission?


Will it be used in a supercar or a small fuel-sipper?

Cars are getting more refined and fuel-efficient as transmissions continue to accrue gears as if they were going out of style. The impressive new 10-speed transmission built by Ford and GM will make muscle cars of the future better track monsters while helping the F-150 return more miles per gallon. Now it looks like Honda is cooking up something special too. AutoGuide uncovered an application submitted to the Japanese Patent Office for a transmission with 11 speeds and three clutches.

What makes this gearbox so impressive isn’t the fact that the automaker has 11 forward gears. It’s that Honda is also adding a third clutch to the unit. That’s right, if the dual-clutch transmission was a hard enough concept to understand, now we have an entirely new technology to wrap our heads around. According to Honda, the extra clutch will help reduce the loss in torque that occurs when shifting gears. What this means for future Hondas with this gearbox are better fuel economy numbers and quicker shifts. With these two benefits in mind, it’s easy to see how this box can be used in a variety of applications. For one, it could be placed in small cars to further improve fuel economy.

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The same goes for larger models like crossovers and SUVs. Currently, Honda employs CVTs in its smaller cars to up mpg ratings. CVTs are inherently more fragile and therefore are not as practical for larger cars. This tri-clutch 11-speed transmission can help with that. Alternatively, the gearbox could also do wonders inside sports cars like the technologically advanced Acura NSX because it would allow for even quicker gear changes while offering the added benefit of increased fuel economy. It’s unclear which cars Honda plans to place the transmission into, but if it pulls off the design correctly we can expect other automakers to look into the tri-clutch transmission as well.