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GKN brings 'supercar' hybrid technology to mass market

14 March 2016

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.

The new eAxle is an evolution of the system GKN designed for the Porsche 918 Spyder. The single-speed design minimises weight to just 20.9kg while optimising efficiency, installation space and costs for mass-market vehicle applications.

A two-staged geartrain with a gear ratio of 12.5 provides up to 2,000Nm torque and 65kW power for a dynamic pure-electric mode and balanced wheel torques for all-wheel drive mode. An electromechanically actuated dog clutch disconnects the electric motor at higher vehicle speeds and an open coupling minimises rotating losses when disengaged.

This development is helping move the balance of power in vehicles from internal combustion towards electric drives. 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. The eAxle can improve 0-100km/h acceleration times by several seconds, provide a useable pure electric range and reduce a vehicle’s CO2 emission rating to less than 50g/km.

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 has been pioneering the introduction of eAxle technology since 2002, launching the industry’s first 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 world’s first two-speed eAxle in the plug-in hybrid BMW i8 and also supplies the eAxle on the Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine PHEV program.


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