GKN Revealed World’s Most Advanced Electric Driveline
GKN’s new eAxle is called ‘eTwinsterX’ and offers three key advantages over conventional electric drivelines. Starting with the design, the integrated coaxial format means that the electric drive (eDrive) unit is significantly smaller than other systems with equivalent power outputs.
Its size also contributes to its adaptability to suit any vehicle type, from city cars to luxury plug-in hybrid SUVs, whether front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The technologies within the eTwinsterX system also mean that it is the first eAxle in the world that has full off-road capabilities. The new driveline boasts industry-leading efficiency, with a unique two-speed transmission that transmits the drive motor’s power, optimising gear changes for the best possible efficiency, as well as delivering seamless shift performance. A further dynamic advantage is that the new eAxle incorporates GKN’s celebrated ‘Twinster’ torque vectoring technology, delivering significant advantages for vehicle stability, agility and safety. Peter Moelgg, CEO of GKN Driveline’s AWD and eDrive business, said: “eTwinsterX will deliver unrivalled capabilities for the next generation of electric vehicles. It takes multiple award-winning elements from our GKN driveline portfolio and applies the principles in a single state-of-the-art electrified system. GKN is unique in being able to deliver an integrated e-motor, two-speed electrified transmission and torque vectoring within a complete eAxle system. GKN’s capability as a complete systems integration partner will also allow us to calibrate eTwinsterX to deliver fully brand-aligned experiences for our OEM customers around the globe.”
Components are tightly packaged, and the powertrain elements share a common housing. This integrated format has significant benefits when trying to accommodate an eDrive unit within a vehicle chassis. It also has advantages on vehicle assembly lines, because of the simpler method of installing a single all-in-one integrated system instead of multiple individual eDrive components. GKN’s new driveline can be used either for the primary drive in fully electric vehicles, or for the secondary drive on plug-in hybrid vehicles – creating a ‘split-axle’ driveline. eTwinsterX employs a unique two-speed transmission, which enables a better balance of acceleration and top speed than conventional single-speed electric drive units. Single-speed transmission vehicles typically have a mechanically-limited top speed, because over this speed the e-motor would be operating in an inefficient part of its rev band. With a two-speed system, the higher gear allows the e-motor to operate at a lower – and more efficient – RPM at high driving speeds, using the same principles as a conventional gearbox with a combustion engine.
Twinster torque vectoring
Torque vectoring provides intelligent control of the vehicle dynamics by managing the distribution of torque to individual wheels. For example, by enabling over-speeding of the outside wheel in a corner, torque vectoring can induce a yaw-moment, helping to steer the vehicle more safely towards a tighter cornering radius. GKN Driveline’s Twinster torque vectoring solution is unique in that it replaces a conventional differential with a twin-clutch system that precisely adjusts the torque delivery to each wheel. eTwinsterX can also produce a negative torque effect to slow the vehicle, and provides a limited-slip differential function. When a dynamic imbalance is detected across an axle, the system sends more power to the wheel with the higher traction. When slowing down, the electrified Twinster system can also stabilise the vehicle and recover kinetic energy at the same time, maximising the recuperation potential of the eDrive system.
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