Race to Add Transmission Gears 'Close to the Limit' Says ZF President

Jason Siu
by Jason Siu

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]

Jason Siu
Jason Siu

Jason Siu began his career in automotive journalism in 2003 with Modified Magazine, a property previously held by VerticalScope. As the West Coast Editor, he played a pivotal role while also extending his expertise to Modified Luxury & Exotics and Modified Mustangs. Beyond his editorial work, Jason authored two notable Cartech books. His tenure at AutoGuide.com saw him immersed in the daily news cycle, yet his passion for hands-on evaluation led him to focus on testing and product reviews, offering well-rounded recommendations to AutoGuide readers. Currently, as the Content Director for VerticalScope, Jason spearheads the content strategy for an array of online publications, a role that has him at the helm of ensuring quality and consistency across the board.

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