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GKN Develops Electric-Drive Axles for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles

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Auburn Hills-based GKN Driveline said Tuesday that it has designed a new range of electric-drive axles ideal for use in both pure electric vehicles and for converting conventional vehicles into hybrids.

Using products available within its extensive driveline portfolio, GKN has been able to design, validate and launch a variety of electric-drive axle products, which can incorporate passive and active limited-slip differentials, torque-vectoring technology and disconnect systems to maximize fuel economy and driving performance.

GKN Driveline has been a pioneer in electric-drive axles, according to Ray Kuczera, engineering director of the Americas for GKN Driveline. Since 2002, the company has produced more than 200,000 units for various vehicle manufacturers.

Most recently, GKN Driveline announced development of an electric-drive axle for use in the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4. The axle allows the front-wheel-drive vehicles to have all-wheel-drive performance, supplemental traction and torque, hybrid fuel economy and the ability to operate in “all electric” drive mode with zero emissions.

Peugeot electric-drive axles incorporate GKN Driveline’s proprietary disconnect clutch technology which facilitates on-demand, all-wheel-drive and contributes to overall all-terrain functionality and fuel efficiency. The Peugeot Hybrid4 system has an electric motor with a maximum capacity of 27 kilowatts and a maximum torque of 200 Newton-meters (147.5 foot-pounds). 

GKN Driveline’s electric-drive axle in the Hybrid4 is capable of delivering 1,500 Newton-meters (1,106 foot-pounds) of torque to the vehicle’s rear wheels. Other units currently being developed have ratings of up to 2,500 Newton-meters (1,844 foot-pounds), several of which will be ready for volume production by 2012.

“GKN’s experience in volume production of electric-drive axles as well as our wide variety of limited slip differentials and torque vectoring products, allows us to offer a range of products from simple electric vehicles to vehicles designed for maximum performance and handling,” said Rob Rickell, global engineering director of GKN Driveline. “Furthermore our ability to partner with a wide variety of motor manufacturers allows us to provide the technology, the vehicle integration expertise and flexibility to meet any demand.”

GKN plc is a global engineering business serving mainly the automotive, industrial, off-highway and aerospace markets. It has operations in more than 30 countries, around 38,000 employees in subsidiaries and joint ventures and had sales of £4.5 billion in 2009. GKN plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE: GKN). Additional information is available at www.gkn.com.

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