Tuesday 25 October 2016
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Report: Ford Patents 11-Speed Transmission

Report: Ford Patents 11-Speed Transmission

We love it when the U.S. Patent and Trademark office releases documents and especially more-so when a potential gem is discovered in the pile of paperwork. It just so happens AutoGuide found one in one such document that just went public. It indicates that Ford could be developing an 11-speed transmission.  The patent was filed back in 2013 by Ford Global Technologies.

Ford already has a 10-speed automatic on the way for its 2017 F-150 Ford Raptor. So it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility it would be looking beyond that as well. All automakers are constantly looking to innovate and push the envelop farther these days by building more fuel efficient powertrains. However, despite all evidence to the contrary, Ford spokesman Paul Seredynski won’t confirm the automaker is also developing an 11-speed gearbox.

“As a technology leader, we submit patents on innovative ideas as a normal course of business. Patent submissions help protect our new ideas but do not necessarily indicate future business or product plans,” Seredynski said in an official statement.

The document describes the patent as a “transmission gearing arrangement produces eleven forward speed ratios and one reverse speed ratio by selective engagement of three shift elements in various combinations. One embodiment includes four simple planetary gear sets, four clutches, and two brakes. Another embodiment includes two axis transfer gear pairs, three simple planetary gear sets, four clutches, and two brakes. Each of these embodiments may include a one way brake such that the first shift is non-synchronous. A third embodiment includes four simple planetary gear sets, four brakes, and two clutches.”

As for the next-generation 2017 Raptor, it will get a 3.5L EcoBoost engine with a 10-speed automatic transmission which is designed to give it better fuel efficiency over the older model.

Ford signed an agreement with General Motors in 2013 to jointly develop both nine- and 10-speed transmissions. In fact, GM helped co-develop the 10-speed in the upcoming Raptor.  Ford and GM said at the time their collaboration would allow both automakers to design, develop, engineer, test, validate and deliver these new transmissions for vehicles faster and at lower cost than if each company worked independently.

The agreement didn’t indicate future work on an 11-speed, so if the newly discovered patent holds true it would appear that Ford is going it alone on this one, with other automakers sure to follow.  Meanwhile, Volkswagen will soon introduce a ten-speed, dual clutch transmission.
Photo Credit: Ford