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New electric all-wheel drive tech developed for family cars

New electric all-wheel drive tech developed for family cars
Sagar Bhanushali Sagar Bhanushali Wednesday 25 May 2016, 11:55 AM

A new plug-in hybrid version of the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer will soon be available in Europe. The premium MPV will get the same electric driveline tech as the i8 sports car though what’s even more interesting is that this technology will be made available to a range of upcoming family cars globally.

The plug-in hybrid comprises of a new electric all-wheel drive platform developed by GKN Driveline, a major automotive component firm in the UK. This new platform has been conceived using the electric axle drive (eAxle) technology. The eAxle is an evolution of systems developed for hybrid supercars that use electric all-wheel drive to boost performance and efficiency.

GKN has secured orders for a major global platform and production is now underway at the company’s eDrive production facility in Bruneck, Italy. The first application will be seen in the 2 Series Active Tourer PHEV.

This new electric axle drive has been optimised for compact car applications. The lightweight single-speed design has a transmission ratio of 12.5:1, reducing the electric motor speed in two stages. The system generates up to 2,000Nm and 70kW of additional torque and power – enough for a vehicle’s pure electric mode to achieve speeds of up to 125kmph and for an all-wheel drive mode that accelerates noticeably faster than conventional mechanical all-wheel drive systems.

When hybrid operation is not required, the e-machine can be disconnected from the driveline by an integrated disconnect device, which uses an electromechanically actuated dog clutch. This minimises rotating losses at higher vehicle speeds when disengaged.

Besides BMW, GKN has also worked on all-wheel drive system for some pretty incredible cars like the Porsche 918 Spyder and the Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine.


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