GKN Driveline will present a range of its advanced vehicle systems at Auto Shanghai 2017, which demonstrate how its market leading driveline technologies are making automakers’ cars lighter, more fuel efficient and better to drive
The UK-headquartered global driveline leader will join its Chinese Joint Venture, Shanghai GKN HUAYU Driveline Systems (SDS), to exhibit its latest technologies. The systems on show will include complete all-wheel drive (AWD) drivelines, lightweight Constant Velocity Joint (CVJ) technologies, and advanced electrified drivelines, including a global debut eDrive concept technology.
GKN Driveline’s AWD Disconnect technology will be showcased by the all-new Jeep Compass on the company’s exhibition stand. The AWD Disconnect system enables vehicles to combine the enhanced traction, dynamics and stability of AWD vehicles with improved on-highway fuel efficiency, by seamlessly switching between two-wheel drive and AWD. During steady state cruising, the clutch system disengages the rear section of the driveline, eliminating rotating losses and improving highway fuel economy by up to 4%. As well as featuring on the all-new Jeep Compass, GKN’s intelligent and fuel-efficient AWD Disconnect technology is also supplied to vehicles such as the Range Rover Evoque, Jeep Renegade and Fiat 500X.
GKN Driveline’s Twinster torque vectoring system, as seen on vehicles including Range Rover Evoque and Ford Focus RS, will also be on display in Shanghai. It uses two clutches housed in a bespoke rear drive module to distribute torque between the two rear wheels. In high-performance guise, Twinster won an Automotive News PACE Award for its innovative combination of new gearing ratios and control algorithms to over-speed the rear wheels, helping Ford to create a car with unprecedented dynamics, feel and handling.
Another PACE Award winner from GKN Driveline is the VL3 sideshaft for rear-wheel drive platforms, which made its debut on the latest BMW 7 Series. It is smaller and more efficient than competing systems, yet delivers up to 27% more torque to the wheels. The system can save more than 4kg of weight from a vehicle’s driveline, and is able to reduce packaging size by approximately 10%.
The VL3 joint is the latest application of GKN Driveline’s unique opposed ball track CVJ technology, which will also be showcased at Auto Shanghai by the Countertrack SX8 joint. Compared to conventional Rzeppa type CVJs, GKN’s innovative Countertrack technology is able to increase maximum steering angles while reducing the friction and heat generation to improve the efficiency of the joint under load. The SX8 in particular is 50-60% more efficient that competitor technologies, around 15% lighter and 8% smaller. It also allows articulation angles of up to 52 degrees, setting a new benchmark for CVJs.
Emerging eDrive technologies
With China now the world’s fastest-growing market for electric drivelines, GKN has recognised Auto Shanghai as the ideal opportunity to showcase its world-leading eDrive technologies.
GKN’s Multimode eTransmission for hybrid vehicles is found on the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, one of the world’s best-selling plug-in cars. The ‘Multimode’ name refers to the three distinct modes that the powertrain can switch between: Pure EV, when the car is driven only by the electric motor; Series Hybrid, when electric drive is supported by the combustion engine for power generation; and Parallel Hybrid, with power generation as well as direct drive provided by the engine. GKN’s eTransmission features a hydraulic clutch that shifts between the different power modes seamlessly, delivering a refined driving experience as well as unmatched performance and hybrid system efficiency. It will be showcased in Shanghai within a futuristic touch-screen display case to allow visitors to explore the technology in detail.
GKN will also showcase its single-speed eAxle, which is designed specifically to provide a secondary driven axle for C-segment plug-in hybrids. It appears on BMW’s 225xe Active Tourer as well as its X1 xDrive25Le for the Chinese market. The GKN Driveline eAxle provides on-demand AWD performance and contributes significantly to the vehicle dynamics and fuel efficiency. A patented disconnect system allows high speed driving with minimum losses, by decoupling the electric motor to reduce drag torque and prevent over-speeding of the electric motor.
An advancement of GKN Driveline’s plug-in hybrid technology is the compact coaxial eAxle¸ as featured on the Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine, the world’s first premium plug-in hybrid SUV. The system comprises a semi-integrated gearbox and eMotor layout, optimised to reduce transmission weight and simplifying vehicle integration. The coaxial eAxle was designed to occupy the same space as the rear drive module on the standard AWD XC90, and therefore gave Volvo the flexibility to meet the customer demand mix between the various driveline options.
The future of electrified drivelines
As automakers increasingly seek to offer plug-in hybrid technology on their small car platforms – where packaging space is at a premium – GKN expects to see a surge in demand for eDrive systems that are cheaper and simpler to package and assemble.
GKN Driveline will present how it intends to meet this demand, by unveiling for the first time an advanced technology concept for a revolutionary eDrive system. The design of the system will enable delivery to OEMs at lower unit costs than today’s electric drivelines, paving the way for more affordable eDrive variants of mainstream vehicles.
All of GKN Driveline’s world-class vehicle systems benefits from its global leadership in the design and production of sintered components. A raft of automotive products developed by GKN’s Powder Metallurgy division will also be on show in Shanghai, including high-performance gears, soft magnetic composites, and components produced using the company’s revolutionary additive manufacturing processes.
GKN Driveline will be at stand 4B F117 in hall 4.2 at Auto Shanghai.