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GKN reveals torque vectoring eAxle technology for next-generation hybrids


GKN has developed new electric "torque-vectoring" axle technology that will make next generation hybrid vehicles more dynamic. The technology will help hybrids compete successfully against conventional powertrains on performance, not just efficiency.
GKN believes the technology has the potential to become a standard element in hybrid drivetrains, broadening their appeal and accelerating their adoption, and could make hybrid all-wheel drive the set-up of choice for most drivers by 2025.

The new eAxle system integrates GKN's Twinster dual-clutch drive module, using it to seamlessly distribute more torque to an individual wheel to help the vehicle turn faster, greatly enhancing cornering response - a process called "torque vectoring".

GKN Driveline Senior Vice President of Programme Management and Strategy, Jim Voeffray, said: " GKN's torque-vectoring eAxle system is a big step forward in terms of the driveability of hybrids: higher performance cars that are better to drive and more efficient. GKN has been building the momentum towards electric torque vectoring for some time, establishing the core eAxle and torque vectoring technologies in production and proving our expertise in driveline systems integration on a series of high-profile programmes."

The technology has a number of application opportunities, from automakers that want to produce hybrids with great off-road performance, to performance-focused cars that require greater levels of on-road traction and cornering capability.

By 2025, GKN forecasts that almost half of all vehicles will have some level of electrification, with a greater proportion of the power delivered by electric motors. Currently conventional hybrids derive just 30% of their energy from a battery; GKN expects that in future vehicles small, powerful, torque-vectoring electric axles could help deliver 60-70% of the power.

Automakers are already using GKN eAxles to build more driver-focused plug-in hybrids such as the Porsche 918 Spyder and BMW i8 that blend efficiency with all-wheel drive performance. GKN's new torque vectoring eAxle module comprises a 60kW, 240Nm GKN EVO electric motor which drives an electric axle with a transmission ratio of 1:10. A dual-clutch Twinster system then vectors the resulting 2,400Nm of torque between the rear wheels.

The company will demonstrate the torque-vectoring eAxle system in action in early 2016 at its proving grounds in Northern Sweden. The company has identified potential applications for the driveline concept with customers and it believes could be programmed and integrated into a vehicle platform for production within the next three years.

Peter Moelgg, GKN Automotive's President of Engineering, added: "GKN's research and development is focused on developing technologies that can achieve this crucial tipping point for electric drives in mass production. More powerful, dynamic hybrid electric technology from GKN will help put batteries in the driving seat and create new dynamic experiences for customers. The success of our eAxle systems in sports cars for Porsche and BMW demonstrated how the right kind of hybridisation creates new value propositions for the driver. We are now preparing mass-production versions of the technology that can also deliver torque vectoring."

GKN has a history of developing innovations that make vehicles more responsive, controllable and efficient. The company has evolved in the last five years from being the world's largest supplier of limited slip differentials, constant velocity joints and lightweight driveshafts into a leader in intelligent hybrid and all-wheel drive systems. It worked closely with Porsche and BMW on the launch of the companies' flagship plug-in hybrid programmes: the Porsche 918 Spyder and the BMW i8.

The company's stand at the 66 th IAA Frankfurt Motor Show (Hall 5.1, B32) revealed a series of other new technologies that will meet the growing demand for hybrids with all-wheel drive. GKN also displayed a compact eAxle system developed for Volvo's new global architecture alongside the torque vectoring system used in the all-new Ford Focus RS.
Moelgg concluded: "GKN's future eAxles will enable more and more vehicles to combine plug-in hybrid efficiency with unmatchable all-wheel drive dynamics. The development and introduction of this critical technology will support widespread adoption of plug-in hybrids. GKN will accelerate the downsizing of eAxles and make it simpler to integrate electric torque vectoring into vehicle platforms."

Related Exhibition:
IAA Cars 2015
66th Frankfurt International Motor Show
9/17/2015 - 9/27/2015
Venue: Messe Frankfurt GmbH, Frankfurt, Germany

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