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All-wheel drive even more responsive in winter conditions

26 October 2016

GKN is developing a new intelligent electromagnetic all-wheel drive (AWD) coupling for SUVs and crossovers for more control on low-grip surfaces in low temperatures.

Intelligent electromagnetic all-wheel drive (AWD) coupling (Credit: GKN)

GKN will present the innovation at the company’s 25th annual Powertrain Forum event in Japan, where the country’s leading automakers at GKN’s testing ground in Tochigi to discuss the latest powertrain trends. The technology is expected to enter production during 2018.

The fourth generation of GKN’s popular GKN’s Electro-Magnetic Control Device (EMCD) can generate 90 percent of the target torque in less than 100 milliseconds when slip reaches just three revolutions per minute. The system’s drag torque will be less than 10Nm across the entire range of slip speeds, improving efficiency and increasing performance in very low temperature conditions.

GKN’s EMCD controls the driveline’s flow of torque to provide instant, on-demand AWD performance – and front-wheel drive efficiency at other times. The technology, suitable for applications with torque outputs of up to 500Nm, is also popular on rear-wheel drive platforms.

A GKN algorithm analyses vehicle sensor data to ensure power is balanced effectively between the front and rear wheels when launching, cornering or driving on poor road surfaces. When necessary, the device can send the requested torque from the front to the rear wheels to improve the vehicle’s traction.

EMCD is one of the smallest, lightest and versatile electronically controlled driveline and axle couplings available. The device uses precise electromagnetic control to continuously adjust the coupling’s clutch torque according to driving conditions.


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