Currently reading: GKN Automotive developing modular 800V electric drivetrains
UK firm says new technologies provide faster charging times, increased driving range and higher performance
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2 mins read
20 July 2021

British engineering firm GKN Automotive will ramp up development of its next-generation electric powertrain hardware, because of the increasing demand for EVs.

The automotive components supplier will accelerate production of new 'eDrive' technologies using 800V electrics, which the firm says allows for faster charging times, increased driving range and higher levels of performance. 

The company’s eDrive system has been in use for more than 20 years and already powers more than 1.5 million vehicles worldwide, with systems found in both electric and hybrid vehicles. 

“Global demand for EVs is accelerating fast, and now is the perfect time for GKN Automotive to underpin its leadership in eDrive systems through next-generation technologies,” said GKN Automotive CEO Liam Butterworth. 

“These high-tech 800V systems will create faster charging cars with better battery range, improved driving performance and even greater efficiencies.

"GKN Automotive intends to continue delivering an increasingly electrified future."

GKN Automotive says future 800V systems are in an advanced stage of development and are currently being tested in real-world conditions. It believes improved efficiencies “could lead to car makers opting to use smaller batteries to reduce vehicle cost, complexity and weight”.

Development is being supported by the firm's partnership with the Jaguar Racing team in Formula E, where testing helps to improve several system capabilities.

“Constant testing to improve efficiency, performance and extending the range of batteries in the ultra-competitive world of electric motorsport creates a direct link from race to road,” the firm said.

“Cutting-edge developments currently being developed for Jaguar Racing will likely be available on near-future road cars in just three years.”

The move forward comes after GKN Automotive announced the decision to close its Birmingham factory back in January, resulting in the loss of 519 jobs.

The company operates in 20 countries, employing a total of around 27,500 people worldwide. 

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Cunt 22 July 2021
GKN is a german company under english ownership with the vast majority of there factorys and reserch and design facilities in Germany they may have operation's in 20 countries but 85% of there facilities are in Germany
wmb 21 July 2021

@Hughl and @Andrew1

Both of what you say are true, but this was an 'in-house', so to speak, through JLR's work with GKN on their shared E racing program. Naturally, that tech could/would have gone to Jaguar's next models, e.i.: the stillborn XJ EV (further development on the I-Pace may still get some of the updates). Yet, with the move to use a partner's BEV platform, who may favor using a different unit/system, they would miss benefiting from a unit that they had a help in developing. Worst yet, using a partner's platform, which buys the same unit from GKN, and therefore have to inadvertently pay again for a system that they helped GKN develop!

Hughbl 20 July 2021

@wmb I thought JLR had plans to share a platform with another manufacturer but hardware such as this might still be required?