GKN Driveline presents fully integrated compact eDrive system in Shanghai; less weight, lower cost, easier integration
19 April 2017
GKN Driveline has presented an advanced technology concept for a fully integrated, compact eDrive system at the 2017 Auto Shanghai motor show. All of the components of GKN’s eDrive system are contained within a bespoke housing, resulting in optimized packaging and greatly simplifying the integration process for car manufacturers. The system generates a maximum 65kW of power and can deliver up to 2,000 N·m of torque to the rear wheels.
GKN’s complete eDrive system packages the water-cooled electric motor, power inverter and single-speed eAxle reduction gearbox within a single casing. The all-in-one eDrive system replaces external wiring with a bus bar to eliminate unnecessary mechanical interfaces. The close proximity of the components results in improvements in both mechanical and electrical efficiency compared to today’s technology.
The housing also helps to suppress noise and vibrations. The bespoke design means that the cooling requirements have been wholly factored in from the start, leading to further efficiencies in the system.
The new drive system is approximately 15% smaller, 10% lighter, more efficient and more refined than electric vehicle systems using separate components. GKN said that the fully integrated design will enable advanced eDrive solutions to be supplied to OEMs at lower unit costs than today’s electric drivelines, paving the way for more affordable eDrive variants of mainstream vehicles.
As automakers increasingly seek to offer plug-in hybrid technology on their small car platforms—in which packaging space is at a premium—GKN expects to see a surge in demand for eDrive systems that are simpler to package and assemble. GKN forecasts that its Chinese joint venture—Shanghai GKN HUAYU Driveline Systems (SDS)—will produce more than 1 million eDrive units per year by 2025.
GKN also announced that China will become a global production hub for GKN’s electrified drivelines in 2018, when production of its latest eDrive technologies commences at SDS.
SDS is set to manufacture the GKN Driveline Multimode eTransmission for a domestic Chinese automaker from 2018. It is also scheduled to start production of the eDrive system in 2019. The eDrive system will first appear on a European OEM’s small car platform that will be sold globally.
The scale of the SDS eDrive production hub in China will increase over the next seven years, with additional supply agreements set to commence for a range of domestic and international car manufacturers. IHS Automotive forecasts that production of electric and hybrid vehicles in China will grow by more than 400% by 2025, to just under four million vehicles per year.
In addition to the increased investment in eDrive production capability, GKN and SDS will expand the engineering development resource in the region at the newly constructed SDS Technical Centre in Shanghai.
GKN has been advancing the development of eDrive technology since 2002. It has produced nearly 400,000 eDrive units at its manufacturing facilities in Europe and Japan. The company was awarded Official Porsche Technology Partner status for its contribution to the plug-in hybrid Porsche 918 Spyder. GKN launched the world’s first two-speed eAxle in the BMW i8 and also supplies the eAxle for the Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid.