Consistent with their overriding philosophy, Lotus has entered a patent application for a lighter, simpler and more compact version of the complex dual-clutch transmission.
The actual details of how this works are hidden within the abstract below, which refers to the image above. These applications are always designed to be vague enough to elude copycats with just a hint of novelty. It appears the novel part involves the concentric shaft design in a few of the drawings.
Whatever Lotus is hiding up its carbon fiber sleeves, we're looking forward to another transmission option.
With reference to Figure 2, the present invention provides a transmission unit comprising: a first set of shaft-mounted input gears (206, 207, 208, 209) each of which meshes with a respective one of a first set of shaft-mounted output gears (220, 221, 222, 223); a second set of shaft- mounted input gears (210, 211, 212, 213) each of which meshes with a respective one of a second set of shaft- mounted output gears (224, 225, 226, 227); a first clutch (215) associated with the first set of input gears (206, 207, 208, 209); and a second clutch (216) associated with the second set of input gears and the second set of output gears (210, 211, 212, 213). At least one of each meshed pair of input and output gears can freely rotate on the shaft on which the gear is mounted and a gear ratio selection mechanism (231) is provided to select a gear ratio by locking a freely rotatable gear to the shaft on which the gear is mounted. In use of 'the transmission unit (200) either the first clutch (215) is engaged and the second clutch disengaged (216) and drive is transmitted via a selected pair of the first set of input and output gears or the second clutch (216) is engaged and the first clutch (215) disengaged and drive is transmitted via a selected pair of the second set of input and output gears.