When talking about green automobile technologies, it's often the case that people focus more on the engines than on any other part of the car. However, given the way technology is headed, it may be rational to pay just as much attention to transmissions for those who are interested in going greener with their cars now and in the future.

Not All or Nothing

While it's useful to go all electric for those who can afford it, not everyone can. For those who still have to use either regular combustion engines or hybrids, a transmission with new technology can make all of the difference.

Dual Clutch Transmissions

Transmissions are now moving beyond the simple binary of either manual or automatic. An example of something in between is the DCT or dual-clutch transmissions. These are part of semi-automatic types. The DCT device uses a physical pedal, just like a manual transmission does. The difference is that the physical pedal itself is heavily controlled by an automatic system. If you don't want to use a full manual transmission for whatever reason, this often serves as a good alternative.

The advantage of this type of transmission is that it's more efficient than the standard type. It's also fast shifting for those who want features beyond the purely green.

Continuously Variable Transmission

This transmission type isn't new in and of itself, but the technologies being developed these days are improving this type of transmission greatly. The advantage for green enthusiasts here is that this type of transmission is particularly good for fuel economy. It's also lighter than the other options,  including the DCT transmission. Additionally, CVT transmissions tend to cost considerably less.

There are downsides to this approach, of course. The type helps make sure that the engine is running at peak RPM at all times. The small transmission also fits well into very small cars, which is also good for fuel economy since smaller cars tend to be more efficient all by themselves.

Another advantage of CVT over other approaches such as DCT is that the device is simple. The only downside is that you tend to lose a bit of power in the engine since transferring torque doesn't work as well with this technique as it does with some others.   

Other Possibilities

Other technologies coming forward are more heavily reliant on electronically controlled parts for transmissions. Going forward, these could eventually make automatic transmissions more efficient than manual or semi-manual, even though they aren't currently.