UK firms join to develop ‘world-leading’ EV powertrain

A new British consortium aims to design and develop a global-use, world-leading fully electric powertrain with funding from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC).

GKN Automotive, a tier one electric vehicle driveline supplier, has joined up with Drive System Design and the University of Nottingham as part of the £8 million project – doubled by the APC’s match-funding scheme.

The project, called ACeDrive, intends to produce “the world’s lightest and most efficient electric vehicle powertrain suitable for the volume market”. GKN claims it will adopt “groundbreaking concepts in cooling and system integration” to reduce the size and cost by 25%, reduce the weight by 20% and increase efficiency by 10% compared with current equivalent EV systems. The system will combine the electric motor, transmission and inverter in one compact unit.

GKN claims development is currently in the simulation analysis phase, with the final design to be commenced later this year and prototype testing in 2020. The project is based in GKN’s Innovation Centre in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.

Gordon Day, general manager at GKN Automotive Innovation Centre, said: “We are developing a truly advanced eDrive system, more compact and cost-effective than other technologies on the horizon. Our ambition is to help the UK take the lead in electric powertrain design and manufacturing capability”.