BloombergNEF: solar, wind, batteries to attract $10T to 2050; curbing emissions long-term will require other technologies
SensorComm Technologies to conduct IoT pilot program monitoring real-time vehicle emissions in Coachella Valley

UK Consortium in £8M project to design EV powertrain for global market

GKN Automotive, Drive System Design and the University of Nottingham are collaborating on an £8-million (US$10 million) project to design and develop a world-leading electric vehicle powertrain for the global market.


ACeDrive (Advanced Cooling and Control of High Speed e-Drive) is backed by match-funding from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC). Already progressing through concept selection, it aims to achieve the level of technology and performance outlined in the Automotive Council’s roadmap for 2040 and be production ready by 2023.

ACeDrive is aiming to be the world’s lightest and most efficient electric vehicle powertrain suitable for the volume market. To achieve this it adopts ground-breaking concepts in cooling and system integration, leading to a significant reduction in the number and size of components.

The core targets for the program are a 25% reduction in both packaging size and cost, a 20% drop in weight, and a 10% increase in efficiency compared to current equivalents.

The ACeDrive project will deliver a complete system that combines a downsized electric motor, optimized transmission and high-frequency inverter within a single unit, enabling shared cooling and a remarkably compact housing. Not only does this reduce the packaging size and cost; fewer interfaces means less internal friction, improved transmission alignment and a boost in efficiency and NVH management.

GKN Automotive, a global Tier One electric vehicle driveline supplier, is responsible for the design of the ACeDrive system, including the overall packaging and the development of the motor, inverter and transmission.

Following detailed simulation and analysis, final design will commence in Q3 2019. Prototyping, rig and vehicle testing will follow in 2020, before a vehicle demonstrator equipped with the prototype system is unveiled for public demonstration in Q1 2021.

The project will be based at the GKN Automotive Innovation Centre in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, with support from consortium partner Drive System Design in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, as well as the University of Nottingham.

Drive System Design is one of Europe’s leading automotive engineering consultancies, with a reputation for technical excellence in the field of electric drive unit efficiency and NVH optimization. Its simulation-led approach will optimize ACeDrive as a whole unit, thereby identifying key trade-offs much earlier in the design process than is usually possible. Ultimately, its enhanced test capabilities will meet the growing requirements of the automotive industry for higher speed electric motor testing—up to and beyond 20,000rpm, and with voltages over 800V.

The University of Nottingham is noted for its expertise in thermal management, semiconductor technology and high-speed motors. It will lead the development of the electric motor, the power electronics modules and advanced integrated cooling. Central to the ACeDrive concept will be the use of advanced SiC transistors, enabling higher frequency control unlocking efficiency improvements, enabling a high speed, next-generation design that is smaller than current motors of equivalent power and affordable for OEM customers.

The APC’s 2018 Roadmap Report, Towards 2040: A Guide to Automotive Propulsion Technologies, highlights the key growth opportunities for the UK supply chain in low-carbon propulsion systems. The ACeDrive project will examine the UK supply chain and its capability to support large-scale manufacture of Power Electronics, Machines and Drives (PEMD). With the support of the APC supply chain team, new contacts and business relationships are already being developed that will explore and demonstrate this potential.



Very good objectives. Hope that various sizes will be mass produced to better electrified vehicles performance at a lower cost.

ariana pham

Thanks for sharing such an amazing post with us it is very informative and helpful.
geometry dash


Some interesting observations from GKN.
Building a unitised housing must reduce manufacturing steps and costs while increasing accuracy. With small form motors spinning to 20krpm improved alignment and tolerances would makes sense. Q.D. swap out and hook up could be an attractive feature.
It's interesting to see how difficult it has been for the old trades to rethink after so many decades of traditional practices.

One of my pre requisites for the ideal components would be options for alternative motor or transmission components to be developed or supplied in a 'standard format,
If we get nearer to universal and high market penetration in a constrained world re purposing, recycling and design that encourages repair or upgrades could be promoted esp if the original design is serviceable.
There must be a business model such as 'brand loyalty or 'preferred supplier that supports such an approach.
The lack of such an approach leads to short life and lack of recycling along with high embedded energy waste.
That traditionally means high costs to the consumer and environment for self interest of of supply chain control.
That can be seen in a number of legal challenges in various jurisdiction where products have conditions such as 'illegal to modify or alter' including software meaning that although the consumer pays for and 'owns' the product, it is in fact only leased as the manufacturer has the final say.

The comments to this entry are closed.