GKN DrivelineUK – The company worked with Volvo Cars in the development of the front-wheel drive (FWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) drivelines for the new model, which will hit British roads this month. The collaboration aimed to find technical solutions to maximise efficiency, rear interior space, durability and performance.

“The system created for the all-new Volvo XC90 reflects GKN’s changing role within the industry; no other supplier is positioned to offer complete front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive systems in this way,” claimed Peter Moelgg, president of Engineering, GKN Automotive.

He added: “GKN’s engineering teams were able to collaborate closely on the design and development for Volvo, allowing for complete system integration. The result was a better, more refined technical solution.”

The innovations developed for the XC90’s AWD driveline include a new VLX ball-plunging joint for the rear sideshafts which reduces weight and packaging space; the XC90 is the first application of this technology worldwide. The vehicle also uses GKN’s new Countertrack SX8 fixed joint and VL propshafts, designed to improve efficiency and packaging. Furthermore, GKN is supplying the power transfer unit (PTU) and the rear driveline module; the combination transforms the base FWD vehicle into an AWD.

According to GKN, the VLX is the smallest joint in production for AWD rear sideshafts, meeting the strength and durability demands of hang-on AWD systems despite its light weight. Its maker says the VLX also speeds up assembly and enables vehicle manufacturers to standardise hub interfaces. GKN says it expects the VLX to become “the technology of choice” for OEMs aiming to maximise interior space in AWD models.

The Countertrack SX8 sideshaft is designed to provide high efficiency, compact packaging and superior noise, vibration and harshness characteristics; GKN describes it as being suitable for high-powered FWD vehicles “that require lower CO2 emissions and smoother driveability”. The sideshaft allows articulation angles of up to 52° – “a new benchmark for constant velocity joints”, says GKN, which also claims the SX8 is 50-60% more efficient than competitor technologies, 15% lighter and 8% smaller.