Wednesday 10 September 2014

GKN moves deeper into electric drives

GKN has developed smaller and more powerful EVO drives for pure electric and extended range electric vehicles.

The UK-based global engineering group is looking to extend the business opportunities of its GKN Land Systems business, one of the company’s four divisions.

“Electric drive technologies and hybrid systems by GKN already power some of the most advanced vehicles on the planet: Le Mans-winning hybrid racecars; plug-in hybrid family vehicles and supercars; and now even London buses,” according to Paul Wyatt, managing director of GKN Hybrid Power. “These latest innovations will make the low-carbon option even more competitive.”

GKN Hybrid Power is a unit within GKN Land Systems.

GKN has also developed a flywheel hybrid system for buses, a new electric drive system for cars and delivery vehicles and a range extender engine for electric vehicles.

The Gyrodrive flywheel hybrid system can be installed as new or retro-fitted to bus fleets, improving fuel economy by around 20% – at a much lower cost than battery hybrid alternatives. Some 500 units will be fitted to Go-Ahead’s buses.

Gyrodrive uses a high-speed flywheel made of carbon fibre to store the energy generated by a bus as it brakes. It then uses the stored energy to power an electric motor, which can help the bus accelerate back up to speed.

Having proven its reliability in three years of endurance racing with Audi and extensive trials with London buses, Gyrodrive is designed to last for the life of the bus, eliminating the need for any battery changes.

The latest GKN EVO electric drive system has been designed for passenger cars and delivery vehicles. The prototype system integrates a GKN EVO axial flux electric motor with a single speed transmission, already proven in series production.

The use of new axial flux motor technology achieves higher torque and power density in a smaller, lighter package. The package offers tight integration into a proven electric gearbox technology, bringing space and efficiency savings.

GKN is understood to have received expressions of interest from several vehicle manufacturers.

A highly integrated GKN EVO electric motor which makes range extender engines for electric vehicles smaller, lighter and more efficient. By integrating GKN EVO’s innovative axial flux technology directly onto the crankshaft of an advanced downsized engine, the compact electric motor works as an efficient generator.

In addition to GKN Land Systems, the GKN plc group has GKN Aerospace, GKN Driveline and GKN Powder Metallurgy. Nearly 50,000 people work in GKN companies and joint ventures in more than 30 countries. GKN recorded sales of £7.5 billion in the year to 31 December 2013.

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