Lotus has filed an international patent for a dual-clutch transmission with the UK Intellectual Property Office.
The application, filed in October last year, shows that the British car maker has been working on the design of a seven-speed gearbox for some time.
Though Lotus have never previously disclosed an interest in dual-clutch transmissions, it is not difficult to understand the brand's move towardsthe technology.
The advantages of such a gearbox – ultra quick shift times, better fuel efficiency, the capacity for both automatic and manual control – would all play to the established strengths of the Lotus brand.
While the patent reveals only as much information as is legally necessary, some reports assume that Lotus have simplified the dual-clutch design (if only to avoid the high cost of manufacturing such a transmission) and lightened it for use in its road cars.
The idea of being able to buy the exceptional Evora with such a gearbox should excite any Lotus fan. The car currently makes do with a six-speed manual, but providing customers with the option of a seven-speed paddle shifter would almost certainly prove popular.
Beyond the Evora there is also the prospect of a new Esprit in the pipeline. Autocar reported recently that the car would get a Toyota-sourced V8. This would make it another ideal candidate for a semi-automatic 'box.
The alternative is that the new transmission is not destined for Lotus's cars at all, and is the work of their highly successful engineering division. That would mean it is intended for another manufacturer, and Lotus will remain devoted to manuals for the foreseeable future.
But that's not what we've got our money on.