GKN Introduces Smaller And Lighter eDRIVE System In Shanghai

GKN Driveline, the British experts in axle technology, have unveiled a concept of their next eDrive unit.
Concept eDrive unit white 1 photo
Photo: GKN Driveline
The reveal took place at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show, where the improved unit was showcased along with dozens of new cars and concept vehicles.

In just a few words, GKN’s new concept is a fully integrated eDrive system that is lighter, smaller, and more efficient than existing drive systems used in EVs that separate their propulsion components these days.

When compared to a conventional configuration, which involves splitting the elements of a drive system into several places on an axle, GKN’s eDrive unit blends all of the parts into a single housing.

The Brits say that the result is 15% smaller, 10% lighter, more refined, and more efficient than the classic way of placing power on the axle of an electrified vehicle.

The fully integrated design of the eDrive unit will allow more automakers to fit it to their products thanks to its smaller size without compromising performance, all with reduced costs. The case that you see in the top picture of this article includes an electric motor, a power inverter, and the eAxle reduction gearbox.

All those parts are separated in a conventional car with an electrified rear axle, and the proposed solution does not even require additional cooling solutions. If you are somehow not impressed yet, it is more silent than current solutions, and its vibrations are dampened by the design of the housing.

GKN expects to build over one million eDrive units per year by 2025 with its Chinese joint venture, Shanghai GKN Huayu Driveline Systems.

Evidently, the goal would not happen if the world’s largest car market was not a fan of EVs and electrified drivelines, which are popular in other countries, but cannot match the volumes in the country that built The Great Wall.

For now, we do not have a launch date for the eDrive unit revealed in Shanghai by GKN, but we expect it to be production ready within the next few years. Thanks to it, smaller cars could get e-axles, but larger vehicles will also get improvements in efficiency when running on electric power.
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About the author: Sebastian Toma
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Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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