Shanghai GKN Huayu Driveline Systems is tasked with rolling out the all-wheel-drive system at its facility in Shanghai. From the power transfer unit to the rear drive module, propshaft and sideshafts, as well as the software control unit, the entirety of the AWD Disconnect system is made in China.
This move will benefit GAC Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in the city on Guangzhou, where FCA’s joint venture produces the Jeep Renegade. Speaking of the smallest Jeep money can buy these days, GKN Driveline highlights that the software alone necessitates 300,000 lines of code to work properly.
“GKN has capabilities to manufacture sophisticated all-wheel drive systems on a global basis and that’s why automakers choose to partner with us on their mega-platforms,” explains Phil Swash, the chief executive officer of GKN Driveline. “The demand for all-wheel drive vehicles is growing at a rapid rate in China and GKN and SDS have a number of localization and domestic programs in the pipeline for the coming years,” he concluded.
The secret to GKN's disconnecting AWD, as the name implies, is its ability to switch from front- to all-wheel-drive very smoothly. This is made possible by a clutch pack that disengages the rear axle with minimal rotating losses.
Compared to a standard all-wheel-drive system, GKN Driveline says that its solution improves highway fuel economy by up to four percent. And when the going gets rough, the AWD Disconnect system is capable of engaging the rear section of the driveline within 300 milliseconds (0.3 seconds).