Making electric propulsion more affordable

GKN Automotive has launched the next phase in its electrification strategy. The company is standardising a range of intelligent highly integrated “3-in-1” systems for pure electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, in a move to decrease cost and increase efficiency.

The 3-in-1 systems effectively integrate an electric motor, inverter together with the single-speed transmission module that scales up the torque. The inverter retains its own separate housing for maximum serviceability. The company’s Automotive SPICE Level 2- and 3-certified software engineering processes enable it to manage the system’s complete integration.

GKN Automotive’s intelligent standardisation strategy enables three families of electric drive to cover all mass-market torque requirements. The systems distil the company’s experience in industrialising electric axle and driveline systems, and harnesses data and system integration knowledge accumulated from 17 years of eDrive development and production of over a million eDrive units.

Hannes Prenn, COO of GKN Automotive ePowertrain, said: “This next phase of our electrification strategy will produce the highly integrated, modular, scalable architectures required for high volume vehicle applications. Standardising these systems will make electrification more affordable and will enable OEMs to offer consumers highly optimised e-mobility at the right price.”

Industry forecasts indicate that by 2026, one in every 10 vehicles sold worldwide will be a battery electric vehicle. The high efficiency of “P4” electric axle drive architectures will make them central to most pure electric and plug-in hybrid strategies. To provide the best balance of cost and performance, single-speed systems are expected to account for 94% of P4 eDrive volumes.

P4 electric drive architectures connect the motor directly to the vehicle’s axle, making it more efficient and cost-effective than “P2” and “P3” systems that hybridise the main transmission. P4 systems send torque directly to the wheels and recover energy directly from the wheel when braking. P4 electric drive systems integrate the inverter and electric motor into a compact transmission module that applies torque to the axle.