BMW X1, GKN eAxleChina – The electric axle (eAxle) will be fitted to a plug-in hybrid version of the SUV for the Chinese market. The product belongs to the same family of eAxles used in the plug-in hybrid BMW 2 Series Active Tourer 225xe.

“Automakers’ evolving powertrain strategies require suppliers with a focus on mass-production of key technologies – and system integration capability,” said Peter Moelgg, CEO of GKN AW&E Drive. “The combination of our proven driveline innovation experience, all-wheel drive expertise and eAxle production capabilities are making eAWD viable in compact vehicles.”

For compact cars, GKN’s single-speed design has a transmission ratio of 12:5:1 and reduces the speed of the electric motor in two stages. The system generates as much as 2,000Nm and 70kW of additional torque and power, enabling a pure-electric mode with speeds of up to 125km/h. GKN says the all-wheel drive (AWD) mode accelerates faster than conventional, mechanical AWD systems.

The eAxle weighs 20.2kg and is compact enough for smaller vehicles, with measurements of 457mm x 229mm x 259mm. When hybrid operation is not required, an electromechanically actuated dog clutch disconnects the e-machine from the driveline, minimising losses at higher speeds. GKN says it has also arranged the gears and bearings to optimise efficiency; noise, vibration and harshness; and durability.

The application and development work for the BMW X1 system took place at GKN’s operations in Shanghai, China. The eAxles will be supplied from the company’s facility in Bruneck, Italy.