Automakers have been cold-testing engineering firm GKN’s hybrid and eAWD systems.
GKN demonstrated a range of new hybrid all-wheel drive, AWD Disconnect and torque vectoring technologies that, states GKN, will make future cars more intelligent, efficient and enjoyable to drive.
These demonstrations have been held at the company’s Wintertest proving ground in Arjeplog, Sweden. Among the vehicles tested and demonstrated during GKN Driveline’s 2015 Wintertest program are the Range Rover Evoque with standard and Active Drivelines, the BMW i8 with GKN’s two-speed eAxle, the Jeep Renegade with GKN’s AWD Disconnect system for compact SUVs, and the BMW X6 with GKN’s electronic torque vectoring system.
“By 2025, driven by GKN advances, AWD will be the driveline of choice for many drivers and premium cars,” said Rob Rickell, President of Group Technology at GKN. “There has already been a major shift in the market and the public’s perception of AWD. Demand is growing strongly for AWD models based on front-wheel drive platforms – and automakers see that AWD makes hybrids and plug-ins a much more attractive proposition for consumers.”
At the Arjeplog proving ground, representatives from automakers experienced the latest applications for GKN driveline technologies, as well as a number of prototype systems. The low-friction ice test tracks produce on-the-limit conditions, which is making it easier for test-drivers to access the AWD system’s full performance, explained GKN.
Porsche recently awarded GKN Technology Partner Status for its successful completion of the work on the 918 Spyder, an innovative plug-in hybrid supercar.
“In back-to-back comparisons, almost everybody prefers AWD to front wheel-drive. Not everybody realises that with our latest generation of intelligent AWD systems, the difference in fuel efficiency can be around just 3 percent,” said GKN Driveline’s Vice President of AWD Product Technology, Rob Genway-Haden. “By adding our AWD Disconnect, this can be minimized even further. Around 80% of the losses in an AWD system are frictional losses and so when you disconnect the rear axle, you remove a lot of the losses. There was particular interest in our AWD Disconnect system for A-segment platforms as it is the only scalable solution available to automakers.”
According to GKN, a plug-in hybrid with the company’s eAxle can improve fuel economy by 30 to 50 percent at the same time as boosting performance.
GKN technology is currently being used in eAWD systems, including the Mitsubishi Outlander, Porsche 918 Spyder and BMW i8.