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Eaton Fuller 10 speed  RT-910 transmission
General Motors and Ford have come together in an effort to design nine- and 10-speed transmissions in the belief that such gear systems will improve both performance and fuel efficiency. It is thought that the two American auto-making behemoths will realize cost-savings of millions of dollars apiece by performing this costly work as a team.

Generally speaking, the more gears a vehicle has the more efficiently it will run. However, it is not just the number of gears that is important, but also the weight of the added parts and how well gears play together. Regardless of the challenges the joint-project faces, the trend of adding gears to transmissions will seemingly continue. After all, it was not all that long ago that six speeds were cutting edge, and ZF Transmissions CEO Stefan Sommer has himself stated that nine gears is the limit, adding that any more gears simply adds weight and complexity.

This is not the first time that competing carmakers have lay down their swords to form a bond of peace and productivity. Mitsubishi and Hyundai worked together to design engines that they both used from 2005 to 2009.

What do you think?  Is 10 gears too many?


About the author: Andrew Greene


Now playing the role of grumpy old man in the foothills of Northern California’s Gold Country, Andrew has had a life-long love affair with vehicles of all sorts, from the bicycle he pedaled across the continent in 1991 to the armored personnel carriers he drove in the Army to the bamboo rafts, elephants, motorcycle taxis, ferries and buses he traveled by during the 13 years he lived and worked in South East Asia. Always eager to learn more about how the people of the world get from here to there in their day-today lives, he, a professional journalist, has been covering the vehicle industry for years.


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