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a 5% improvement in fuel economy has been promised by a new generation of 11-speed triple-clutch transmissions, which is actively under consideration at both GM and Honda.

These and other new transmissions with double-digit numbers of ratios - and highly advanced software - will be much better at keeping engines going with both maximum efficiency and minimum waste. 

I mean, it wasn't long ago that a manual six-speed was thought to be cutting edge, and four-speed were the norm in two-pedal cars. But as the reach for fuel efficiency has grown, the gearbox wars have gone wild, with brands like Mercedes-Benz having long offered seven, and now nine, cogs. 

When will the ratio race end??

According to Darrell L Robinette, assistant professor ar Michigan Technological University and the brains behind an 11-speed triple-clutch transmission, "I would agree that 10 ratios seems to be the limit, but remember that only a decade ago six speeds were thought to be sufficient. If you can add more gear options with the ability to configure the shift schedule by skipping gears... why not?".

Robinette also stressed that this would be achieved without a penalty in cost, mass or size.

Citing GM confidentiality, Robinette wouldn't give much information about when the TCT might appear but said the concept had the same long-term potential as DCT systems. 

Inspired by 2025's fuel consumption and emissions demands, automated transmissions could be a significant contributor to achieving those limits without ruining the joy of driving!


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