GKN Driveline is transferring hybrid technology from super sports cars such as the Porsche 918 Spyder and BMW i8 into affordable compact vehicles. The company has developed an eAxle module that will enable C-segment vehicles to offer buyers a plug-in hybrid option with improved performance and a reduction in CO2 emissions of more than 50 percent.
Peter Moelgg, GKN Automotive president of engineering, said, “GKN leads the industry in eAxle technology, and we want to make plug-in hybrids a simple upgrade for consumers and manufacturers. With our systems now proven in halo hybrid sports car programs and premium SUVs, automakers are working with us to launch eAxle technology in a much broader range of vehicles. Innovations by our hardware and software engineers will place the performance and efficiency benefits of plug-ins within the reach of many more motorists.”
The new eAxle is an evolution of the system GKN designed for the Porsche 918 Spyder. The single-speed design minimizes weight to 20.9kg while optimizing efficiency, installation space and costs for mass-market vehicle applications. A two-staged geartrain with a gear ratio of 12.5 provides up to 2000Nm torque and 65kW power for a dynamic pure-electric mode and balanced wheel torques for all-wheel-drive mode, according to GKN. An electromechanically actuated dog clutch disconnects the electric motor at higher vehicle speeds and an open coupling minimizes rotating losses when disengaged. Precision engineering of the gear teeth and other acoustic measures ensure noise emissions are minimal.
Developed by GKN, this technology is helping move the balance of power in vehicles from internal combustion toward electric drives. GKN has been pioneering the introduction of eAxle technology since 2002, launching initial high-voltage eAxle applications with PSA Peugeot Citroen in 2010. The company was awarded Official Porsche Technology Partner status for its contribution to the plug-in hybrid Porsche 918 Spyder program. It launched the two-speed eAxle in the plug-in hybrid BMW i8 and also supplies the eAxle on the Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine PHEV program.
A typical C-segment plug-in hybrid could now have an engine output of around 100kW, with a GKN eAxle supplying an additional 65kW of electrical power, according to GKN. The eAxle can improve 0-100kph acceleration times by several seconds, provide a useable pure electric range and reduce a vehicle’s CO2 emission rating to less than 50g/km, the company adds.
Front-wheel drive vehicle platforms can integrate GKN’s compact, lightweight single-speed eAxle modules into the vehicle’s rear assembly to provide a combination of plug-in hybrid and electric all-wheel drive functionalities.
“GKN’s position as the only hybrid technology supplier that can also deliver complete all-wheel drive systems makes us an ideal partner on these programs,” said Rainer Link, GKN Driveline managing director of eDrive Systems. “Our vehicle integration teams can support automakers in the tuning of their vehicle’s eAWD mode, ensuring that the torque delivery results in the right front-rear balance and delivers the brand’s trademark driving characteristics.”