Italy – The cumulative total was achieved by the company’s production lines at its Italian and Japanese centres of excellence. GKN has been making the electric axle (eAxle) since 2002 and has seen demand rise alongside the popularity of vehicles with hybrid electric all-wheel drive (eAWD) technology.
“Plug-in hybrids with eAWD are now one of the industry’s fastest-growing market segments and we have seen a significant acceleration in production volumes at our global sites in the past two years in response,” commented Phil Swash, CEO at GKN Driveline. “We believe that approximately 40% of new vehicles will have some element of electrification within the next ten years and we are developing the next generation of technologies to ensure we maintain our leading position, as well as adding production capacity across the globe.”
GKN used its systems integration and production experience to transfer eAxle technology from niche vehicles to high-volume applications. The product now features on models such as the Volvo XC90 and S90; the Mitsubishi Outlander; the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer; the BMW i8; and the Porsche 918 Spyder. Typically, the technology is used on the rear axle of front-wheel drive platforms to contribute to the production of hybrid eAWD models.
According to GKN, “high-precision manufacturing and efficient assembly processes” at its facilities in Bruneck, Italy, and Tochigi, Japan, mean that its latest systems are suitable for vehicle segments including premium SUVs and high-end sports cars.
In March this year, GKN announced its latest-generation eAxle, which transfers technology developed for hybrid supercars to mass-market vehicles.