Thursday, March 17, 2016

GKN eAxle Brings Supercar Technology To Plug-in Hybrid Cars

Whether we realize it or not, there are a lot of companies that supply major components to the automobile industry. As more and more cars adopt plug-in hybrid powertrains, the components that make them go are increasingly supplied by outside manufacturers. One such supplier is GKN, a European company that specializes in components for plug-in hybrid cars. Its products have been featured in some of the world’s most impressive supercars like the Porsche 918 Hybrid and the BWW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car. They are also found in the new Volvo XC90 T8 plug-in hybrid.
GKN eAxle for plug-in hybrid
Now GKN wants to take what it learned from designing drive systems for those two cars and apply it to improving the powertrains of popularly priced cars, the ones that real people use every day. Its eAxle system will enable those vehicles to offer buyers a plug-in hybrid option with improved performance and a reduction in CO2 emissions of more than 50%, according to Next Gen Transportation News.
An evolution of the system GKN designed for the Porsche 918 Spyder, the single speed eAxle weighs less than 50 lbs. A two stage geartrain with a gear ratio of 12.5 provides up to 1,475 lb-ft of torque. It provides up to 87 horsepower for electric only driving and balances the torque applied to each wheel when used in all wheel drive mode. An electro-mechanical dog clutch disconnects the electric motor at higher vehicle speeds. An open coupling minimizes rotating losses when disengaged.
GKN says a typical small plug-in hybrid has about 134 horsepower from its gasoline engine. Adding a GKN eAxle with 87 additional horsepower available can improve 0 to 60 times by several seconds.  Front-wheel drive vehicle platforms can integrate GKN’s eAxle modules into the vehicle’s rear assembly to provide a combination of plug-in hybrid and electric all-wheel-drive functionalities. The eAxle can also be combined with GKN’s eTwinster torque vectoring technology to further improve driving dynamics.
You may not recognize the name GKN, but the chances are that if you drive a plug-in hybrid car in the future, GKN will be an important part of the powertrain in your car.

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