GKN Driveline is crediting rising worldwide demand for hybrid-electric all-wheel-drive vehicles for the success of its own electric axle technology. The manufacturer has produced over 300,000 units of its eAxle product line at plants in Bruneck, Italy, and Tochigi, Japan.
“With more than 300,000 GKN eAxles on the road, our stable manufacturing processes and exacting quality standards are making eAWD an attractive option for automakers and consumers,” GKN Driveline CEO Phil Swash said.
GKN Driveline develops and manufactures automotive driveline technology and systems, including CVJ systems, AWD systems, trans axle solutions and eDrive systems, operating in 23 countries. It introduced eAxle technology in 2002, and has developed it from niche vehicle applications to a technology installed in high-volume, mass-market vehicles, for M-4WD and hybrid AWD systems.
“Plug-in hybrids with eAWD are now one of the industry’s fastest growing market segments and we have seen a significant acceleration in production volumes at our global sites in the past two years in response,” according to Swash. “We believe that approximately 40% of new vehicles will have some element of electrification within the next 10 years, and we are developing the next generation of technologies to ensure we maintain our leading position, as well as adding production capacity across the globe.”
GKN’s electric drive axle unit for axle split hybrid systems incorporates a proprietary disconnect clutch technology, which supports on-demand, all-wheel-drive use and contributes to the all-terrain functionality and fuel efficiency. The hybrid system is fitted with an electric motor, and has a maximum capacity of 27 kW and a maximum torque of 200 Nm at the rear.
Automakers typically use GKN eAxles on the rear axle of front-wheel drive platforms to offer an efficient, dynamic and affordable hybrid eAWD model. GKN Driveline supplies the electric drive axle for PSA Peugeot Citroën’s HYbrid4 technology. Other vehicles that incorporate GKN eDrive technology include the Volvo XC90 and S90, Mitsubishi Outlander, BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, BMW i8 and Porsche 918 Spyder.
Peter Moelgg, GKN Automotive President of Engineering, said: “GKN’s eAxle technology has passed a key production milestone at a time when demand for both all-wheel drive and plug-in hybrids is rising strongly.
“As the industry’s driveline efficiency expert, we focused on preparing eAxles for mass production from the outset because the technology offers the most real-world efficiency and the best value for consumers in terms of performance and system cost,” Moelegg said.