What?! A Car With No Gearbox?

At North West Transmissions, we specialise in one area – gearboxes and transmissions – repairing them and providing high quality refurbished units.

As such, we take a natural interest in any car that sports a new type of gearbox, but our attention has also been taken of late by a different type of car. One without a gearbox at all.

Hopefully the good people of north west England won’t switch to gearbox less cars en masse!

While other cars have been built without a gearbox, Honda are looking to bring this form of engine to a larger market through their hybrid versions of the CR-V, Accord, Insight and Clarity.

What do they seek to achieve by having no gearbox, how does it benefit the driver?

No Gearbox – Mixed Feedback

The feedback thus far is somewhat mixed. Honda’s claim stated on their website is that they have created a system that has the efficiencies of hybrid engines but also offers a rewarding driving experience, something often said to be lacking in many hybrids.

Reviews, though, have spoken of a buzzing noise at higher speeds, the engine running quickly – this as outlined on the Car Throttle site. 

These cars have three distinct ways of propelling themselves –  a pure battery mode to start (this a battery with just 1kWh power and so good for only around a mile or so). The engine has to add power almost immediately – however unlike typical hybrids, the internal combustion engine does not at this stage power the wheels, it instead powers a generator which in turn powers the wheels and also charges the battery.

Then, as cruising speeds are reached, the petrol engine stops powering the generator, instead performing direct powering of the wheels via a locked up cloth and single gear. Any excess power charges the battery.

The driver, of course, does not need to worry about these myriad modes, the car instead selecting the best option for maximum efficiency – or that’s what Honda’s blurb says at least. There is also some capacity to override automatic settings, for instance a sport mode can be selected for a ‘more engaged feel’.

The set-up is ingenious and also complicated and, as it is new, somewhat unproven (bar Honda’s own testing, which will have been extensive). However, true reliability and efficiency data will only be known in time, for now they are somewhat of a leap into the unknown.

The latest technology also doesn’t come cheap – the most basic model of the CR-V coming in at around £30,000, others closer to £40,000.

Honda will believe they have found the next step in hybrid vehicles, one that takes them a step further away from the traditional combustion engine and gearbox transmission set-up. However, will the change prove worthwhile or is it change for change’s sake, to stand apart in what is already a crowded marketplace?

Time will tell – for now the gearbox remains essential to all cars with a proven track record for reliability and efficiency.

About North West Transmissions

Although gearboxes might remain king, as with all parts of any vehicle they do still require repair occasionally and units sometimes need replacing.

At North West Transmissions we repair gearboxes or source replacement with guaranteed refurbished units.

A family-run business, we have a truly superb reputation, this shown by our 4.9 out of 5 average rating from dozens of reviews on Google.

All reconditioned gearbxes come with guarantees for 12 months or 12,000 miles while reconditioned automatic units come with a re-manufactured torque converter that has a lifetime guarantee.

Our technicians are all highly skilled with vast experience in reconditioning and repairing all units – importantly their efficiency helps cut down the price of repairs and so too the cost.

Gearbox problems are all-too common. If you find yourself in need of a repair or reconditioned unit, that often being the more economical option in the long term, please contact us.

Call us on 0151 933 0257 or use our Contact Form.