Most automotive enthusiasts can remember when an automaker first introduced the idea of a six-speed automatic transmission to the market, and nowadays modern vehicles sport as many as eight gears, with Hyundai even rumored to be working on a 10-speed.
But according to transmission maker ZF, the fight for who has the most gears may be coming to a stop, stating that additional gears might not improve fuel efficiency enough to curb the costs involved. It was just a mere three years ago that ZF began producing its eight-speed transmission, delivering up to 11 percent better fuel economy compared to a standard six-speed automatic. ZF president Julio Caspari however, believes that there is only about an 11 percent gap between the most efficient transmissions today and a ‘theoretically perfect gearbox.’
ZF will begin assembling its nine-speed automatic gearboxes next year and is believed to be up to 16 percent more efficient than a standard six-speed. American automaker Chrysler is also producing eight- and nine-speed gearboxes under license and will be seen in all its front-wheel drive models.
As for the 10-speed transmission rumors, ZF had no comment on whether or not it’s currently developing one. But the company did state that it’s not concerned if a competitor was to come out with one first. Caspari on the other hand, still seems skeptical on whether or not a 10-speed transmission would have an impact on daily driving.
[Source: Automotive News]