Creating new markets

Land Rover partners with GKN on intelligent AWD system

Land Rover vehicles are known for their all-wheel drive (AWD) capability. With the launch the Range Rover Evoque compact SUV the brand entered new territory: corporate fleets. The Evoque’s size and style made it an enticing prospect for drivers who wanted a company car with a different work-life balance.

Video courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover

To create an innovative “Active Driveline” that could provide the efficiency fleets require without compromising the brand’s off-road capability, Land Rover partnered with GKN Driveline. The development extended the two companies’ collaboration on the Evoque’s standard AWD system.

How it works

The result is an industry-first: an AWD Disconnect system that improves fuel efficiency while retaining the vehicle’s traction, dynamics and off-road performance. When driving conditions and driving style allow, GKN’s intelligent driveline switches to front-wheel drive mode, disconnecting the rear axle and the major rotating masses to maximise efficiency.

GKN Range Rover Evoque on a test track

The GKN system has a power transfer unit (PTU) linked to the transmission’s final drive differential. This contains a synchronizer and brake that disconnect the all-wheel drive system upstream of the PTU’s hypoid gears.

At the rear of the system is GKN’s Twinster rear drive module (RDM), which uses two multi-plate clutches to drive each rear wheel independently. The clutches can also disconnect the AWD downstream of the RDM hypoid gears.

The benefits

A dedicated GKN driveline control unit controls the front and rear sections, continuously monitors the vehicle dynamics and driver inputs. During steady-state driving speeds above 22mph, the system disconnects the rear axle to save fuel. When additional traction is required, within 300 milliseconds, the rear wheels are reconnected.

Evoque on a test track

In addition to the disconnect function, GKN’s Twinster technology also acts as an electronic differential, vectoring torque to optimise grip, traction and stability.

The co-development of the Active Driveline achieved a significant reduction in driveline spin losses, which contributed to an improvement in fuel efficiency of up to 11.4%, depending on the model. The step change in vehicle efficiency and dynamic performance set a new industry benchmark for this type of vehicle.