Fully Charged Tests On GKN’s eDrives In BMW i8, 225xe – Over 300,000 Plug-Ins To Date

DEC 17 2016 BY MARK KANE 11

A recent episode of Fully Charged takes place in Germany, where GKN Driveline tests its eDrives in plug-in hybrid BMWs (specifically the i8 and 225xe Active Tourer) on the track.

eAxle on the Volvo XC90

eAxle on the Volvo XC90

As it turns out, GKN already supplied various eDrive systems to more than 300,000 plug-ins.

Besides BMW, GKN componentry is used also in the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Volvo XC90 T8, Porsche 918 Spyder, Fiat 500e, and surprisingly, also for the Nissan LEAF.

GKN | Fully Charged

GKN are a big British engineering firm who’s components and technology is in millions of cars and most of us don’t know about it.

They kindly gave us the opportunity to test drive some of the technology they have developed.
It’s not often that Fully Charged gets the chance to let rip on high-speed circuit. Well, there’s not much ripping to be honest this is Fully Charged, but the technology we are using in this four-wheel-drive BMW proves itself to be incredibly effective.

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11 Comments on "Fully Charged Tests On GKN’s eDrives In BMW i8, 225xe – Over 300,000 Plug-Ins To Date"

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Looking forward to leaving the EU and building our own full EV cars here in the UK.

*lol*… Are you counting on a UK brand of cars then or just to be in the hands of mercy of a foreign car company? 😉

*lol* both. Currently we import large numbers of German cars supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs in Germany which is partly why our UK/EU trade deficit is so bad at around 2:1. We will not be able to stay in the single market due to the freedom of movement requirement so we will be able to put tariff on imported cars therefore in effect requiring them to be made in the UK. China and India do this a lot with cars they import from the EU.

Well, that is true. But if you can make cars better than the Germans, would you win or lose by having tariffs? The domestic advantage would be the same size as the disadvantage when exporting, because it’d be the same tariffs. So it’s simply a question of market size in this scenario. If the EU market is bigger than the UK one, you’re losing. And guess what, it is! Under the opposite assumption, that the Germans make better cars, do you win or lose with tariffs? Well, you may win the jobs, provided the tariffs are sufficiently high to make the protected product competitive. The consumer of course loses, having to pay the tariffs. It’s tempting to say this is what East Germany and the other communists were doing. The Trabant certainly employed people. It’s less clear that it was a net win for the nation. Obviously British engineering is much better than that. And in any case tariffs could just lead to German cars being built in the UK, since it’s a big enough market to make this viable. But I think foreign companies are much less willing to do that if it’s not certain they can use their… Read more »

‘Our own’?
If you don’t count little tinpot companies knocking out ten or twenty cars a year, the only BRITISH car manufacturer left here is Morgan. Everything else is foreign owned.

You are only looking at cars for tariff’s whereas we will need to look at everything and given the 2:1 trade imbalance the UK currently have with the EU we would be net gainers from any and all tariff’s. German car’s are made in factories all over the world including the UK currently so I don’t think that is an issue. What is more of an issue for Germany is that with the advent of electric vehicles most of their historical competitive advantage is gone so they still have their brand name and reputation so I’m sure they will be fine but on the flip side I also don’t think there will be any great problem for us in the UK. We have a wide range of high end vehicle manufactures and as this article explains good engineering resources but currently no mass market manufactures. The problems of the EU are entirely of it’s own making. We have waited for decades for the EU to reform and we were always told that we needed to do that by working from the inside and nothing ever changed. The Euro is doomed without much tighter political integration but the direction of political… Read more »

Still believing the Brexit lies?
Not everything is about economics, although I don’t think UK will be much better off when out of EU.
UK will be also loosing its relevance on global scale. A united Europe can play in the league of superpowers – not many of them left today.
A divided Europe is an easy catch for the remaining superpowers.

Losing not loosing!

If motor costs come down, they can offer two and four wheel drives without differentials and gain torque vectoring.

2 smaller motors shouldn’t be more expensive than 1 bigger motor. The economy of scales come very well into place. So 4 motor architecture is IMO the best.

They only had a 2 second ‘blurb’ graphics, but I like the way GKN uses just 1 ‘actuated’ clutch plus an over-running clutch to give the simplest ‘2 speed transmission’.

At the slight risk of a decrease in efficiency (the what was ‘low’ speed pinion will be really screaming at speed)- but then helical gearing is usually fairly efficient, and they do test these things so the size of the gearing apparently is adequate for around 200,000 miles.

Now, I wonder if someone could delineate where only 1-speed GKN models are used, and where the presumably newer 2-speed models are used?