GKN Driveline, a British engineering firm that can also lay claim to co-developing the Ford Focus RS’s drive system, has managed to tightly integrate parts to create a better-optimised, more efficient drive system.
It is claimed to improve performance and offer better packaging and assembly options for manufacturers.
The first system (pictured) has been developed for plug-in hybrids and will reach the market in a yet to be confirmed production model. It uses a liquid-cooled electric motor that sends drive through a single-speed eAxle that drives the rear wheels.
The system produces up to 87bhp and a substantial 1475lb ft, while measuring just 300mm high and 325mm wide, thus enabling tight packaging within a car’s chassis.
It also weighs just 54kg, which is around 2.5kg lighter than other comparable drivelines, according to GKN.
“The key reason for its development is cost,” said Theo Gassman, GKN’s director of advanced engineering and eDrive systems. “Our system eliminates the connector and the cable between the electronic power and the motor, saving significant cost.”
Gassman said other positive knock-on effects include significant improvements to performance and increased modularity.
“[Manufacturers] are pushing for higher levels of integration and want to have the motor integrated in with the transmission in one housing,” he said. "This allows for deeper mechanical integration but is also important for fuel saving – you can reduce the weight and get better performance, so specific kilowatt per kilo output is better.”