Photo of a dual-clutch transmission. Source: Honda

Dual-clutch transmissions, like the one shown above, are fairly prominent in the industry now, offering faster shift times than a conventional automatic and fewer parasitic losses. Now Honda just patented a triple-clutch, 11 speed transmission that promises even better performance. Can you even handle all those clutches and gears?

Honda filed this patent to the Japan Patent Office in late May. The patent application, which you can read here, has been translated from Japanese, so I’m having a hard time figuring out exactly how the thing works.

Still, based on these excerpts, it seems the triple-clutch trans will offer both efficiency and transient-response benefits compared to a more conventional dual-clutch setup.

This one indicates that there will be no “torque omission” with the new proposed transmission compared with a dual-clutch. Presumably “torque omission” refers to a drop in torque to the wheels during a gear change (emphasis mine):

The above-mentioned conventional gearbox which is a kind of the gearbox of a dual clutch type is holding and changing two friction clutches, where PURISHIFUTO [ the following gear ratio ] preliminarily, when changing gears sequentially, and gear change without a torque omission is attained.

This passage mentions the lack of “torque removal,” as well as an improvement in response time:

since the number of friction engaging devices C1 to C3 has been increased from two to three in respect to the usual dual clutch type speed change gear, a probability that the friction engagement device to be engaged at the present speed change stage and a friction engagement device to be engaged at a target speed change stage are coincided to each other is decreased and a probability that no torque removal occurs and a clutch-to-clutch speed change can be carried out is increased to enable a multistep formation at the time of step speed change to be more effectively restricted and a speed change response to be increased.

As for how it works exactly, I’m not sure. But the patent application has a slew of diagrams, so if there’s a transmission engineer out there with a few hours of spare time, by all means, take a look and let us know what’s going on.

Graphic taken from the Japan Patent Office

Whether this trans will make its way into passenger cars, the patent doesn’t specify, but based on that translation indicating better response times and less power loss to the wheels, I sure hope so. Or is 11 gears too many gears?

Via Auto Guide