GKN trials world-first BEV with two-speed transmission and torque vectoring

Mar 13 2018 | by Louise Woodhams

GKN Automotive has unveiled the world’s first battery electric vehicle (BEV) with a two-speed transmission and torque vectoring on the front axle. Based on a standard Jeep Renegade, the GTD19 demonstrator vehicle showcases how car makers can use drivetrain innovations to achieve industry-leading standards of efficiency, safety and driving dynamics in BEV models.

The GTD19, which is undergoing extensive testing at GKN’s annual winter testing programme in Sweden, is equipped with an optimised electric two-speed gearbox configured to ensure the shifts are seamless, with minimal losses in power and torque and the potential for faster acceleration, improved efficiency and a higher top speed. Efficiency is further enhanced by the GTD19’s eAxle’s coaxial format, while exceptional stability and dynamic performance is possible thanks to the torque vectoring capability of GKN’s award-winning Twinster system.

The advanced eDrive system in the GTD19 replaces the Jeep Renegade’s internal combustion engine with a 120kW GKN e-motor, delivering maximum torque of 3500Nm and vectoring of up to 2000Nm to either of the front wheels when required. Front-wheel drive applications of torque vectoring provide more noticeable benefits than rear- or all-wheel drive configurations, due to the relative ease of breaking traction in a front-wheel drive car.

Not only can the Twinster system keep the front wheels in check during acceleration, it can correct an understeer yaw moment experienced by a driver entering a corner at speed. The system prioritises torque delivery to the outer wheel helping to correct the natural understeer characteristic typically associated with a front drive vehicle.

Hannes Prenn, COO of GKN ePowertrain commented: “Within the last year, we have seen a 40 per cent increase in the value of our eDrive order book, rising from £2 billion at the end of 2017 to confirmed business now worth £3 billion. Our dedicated focus on production and development of electrified drivelines will enable us to support the rapid acceleration in demand for BEVs equipped with all-wheel drive systems in the coming years.”

GKN has pioneered advanced eDrive technology since 2002, acquiring unrivalled systems integration and production experience to transfer the technology from niche vehicles to high-volume mass-market applications. It has already supplied complete eDrive systems to some of the most influential and successful plug-in hybrid programmes for OEMs including BMW, Mitsubishi, Porsche and Volvo.

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