GKN Automotive is accelerating its eDrive development programme, to keep pace with the growing demand for its portfolio of compact electric driveline systems.
Its latest G400 eDrive unit, which is scalable for a variety of torque classes, is undergoing extensive testing at its annual winter testing event in Arjeplog, Sweden, using Tesla Model 3 and Fiat Ducato platforms as testbeds.
GKN Automotive has pioneered advanced eDrive technologies since 2002, developing experience of systems integration and production that is unmatched in the industry. In July 2019 the company produced its one millionth electrified driveline system and sales of its expanding eDrive portfolio are on track to grow 141% year-on-year, including six new major mass production projects in 2020. By 2025, the company expects to be producing around one million eDrive units per year for global markets.
Inverter integration testing
The next phase of GKN Automotive’s electrification strategy includes the development of the 3-in-1 G400 eDrive System, currently undergoing testing in Arjeplog with a variety of inverter applications and in-house developed eMotors. This is in preparation for the forthcoming integration of Delta Electronics Inc. components into integrated 3-in-1 eDrive units.
Hannes Prenn, COO of GKN Automotive ePowertrain, commented: “The application of our G400 eDrive module into two very different vehicle platforms showcases how we are evolving and refining our scalable electric driveline technologies. As our order book continues to grow rapidly, we are accelerating the development of our standardised range of eDrive units to cater for a variety of platform sizes and torque requirements.
“To meet this increased demand, we have enhanced our inverter development capabilities by establishing a partnership with power electronics specialist Delta Electronics Inc. We have also commissioned an in-house eMotor production line at our European eDrive production facility. By integrating our transmission and eMotor technology with Delta’s inverters into modular units, GKN Automotive is decreasing costs and reducing component packaging for automakers.”
The collaboration with Delta Electronics Inc. will enable the rapid acceleration of GKN Automotive’s next generation compact modular eDrive systems of power classes from 80kW to 155kW.
Wintertest eDrive test vehicles
The latest GKN Automotive Technology Demonstrators (GTD), based on Tesla Model 3 and Fiat Ducato LCV platforms, both use a compact G400 modular eDrive unit. This includes a GKN Automotive eMotor (126kW), inverter, offset gearbox with open differential, and software controls integrated into both vehicles’ electrical architectures.
In the Tesla platform, the scalable system is integrated on the rear axle; in the Ducato body it is on the front axle, demonstrating the versatility of the eDrive module. The systems are set up as a ‘2-in-1’ (eMotor and transmission) plus inverter configuration: the inverter retains its own separate housing at Wintertest, for maximum serviceability, but will eventually be fully integrated.
The company’s Automotive SPICE® Level 2- and 3-certifed software engineering processes enable it to manage the system’s complete integration, compliant with the overall system requirements from customers. GKN Automotive has the capabilities to optimally integrate all elements of the architectural design, including mechanical, electrical, thermal, controls and software sub-systems.
Electrifying new models
The DS 7 CROSSBACK E-TENSE 4×4, which launched in Europe at the beginning of 2020, features GKN Automotive’s latest advanced eAxle technology. It is applied to the rear axle, providing an electrically assisted all-wheel drive P4 hybrid set-up.
The plug-in hybrid SUV uses GKN Automotive’s modular eAxle unit incorporating an 80kW motor that delivers nominal output torque of 2,000Nm in a package that weighs just 54kg. It also features an advanced Electronic Disconnect Differential (EDD) that enables the eAxle to be decoupled from the wheels. Depending on drive mode, when the vehicle is moving above 135km/h or at a standstill, the eAxle is disconnected to maximise efficiency and protect the eMotor. The technology is also applied to the Peugeot 3008 HYBRID4 and Opel Grandland X Hybrid4 SUVs, which also launched in early 2020.
Pioneers of eDrive
GKN Automotive has pioneered advanced eDrive technologies since 2002, developing experience of systems integration and production that is unmatched in the industry. The company has now delivered over one million eDrive units, including integrated 2-in-1 eMotor and transmission modular systems, such as the award-winning ERAD in the Volvo XC60 and XC90, and the new LEVC TX5 London taxi. GKN Automotive also supports numerous other OEMs with their evolving line-ups of electrified vehicles, including Groupe PSA and FCA.
Late in 2019, GKN Automotive launched the next phase in its electrification strategy. The company is focusing on developing a range of 2-in-1 and 3-in-1 electric drive systems for pure electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, to cover all mass-market torque requirements from 2,000 Nm to 5,800 Nm.