Ford has been granted with a patent for an 11-speed automatic transmission which could find its way inside a model sooner or later.

Back in November 2012, we heard ZF CEO saying a 9-speed auto 'box represents the "natural limit" judging by the benefits brought by an extra gear in comparison to the added complexity and weight. However, the Blue Oval company has already announced a 10-speed transmission is on its way for the 2017 F-150 Raptor and now we have learned their engineers have researched the prospects of adding an eleventh gear.

Ford filed the patent on October 4, 2013 and the document refers to three different transmission configurations using different combinations of gears, clutches and brakes. According to Ford's powertrain spokesman Paul Seredynski, the patent application represents a method of protecting new ideas, so it doesn't necessarily mean they are actually working on an 11-speed automatic transmission.

Ford gets patent for 11-speed automatic gearbox