Engineering firm GKN Automotive recently demonstrated a new torque-vectoring electric drive system to customers at its Wintertest proving ground in Arjeplog, Sweden.
Torque-vectoring technology provides the ability to vary the torque to each wheel, generating a yaw moment in the car. By controlling the power to each wheel separately, a vehicle can respond to inputs with more stability, more responsiveness and more agility.
Vehicle dynamics experts from several automakers test-drove an SUV prototype equipped with the eTwinster, a plug-in hybrid module designed to make it simpler for vehicle platforms to offer electric all-wheel drive and torque vectoring. The driveline combines eAxle technologies that have already been used in PHEVs from Volvo, Porsche and BMW.
In the prototype vehicle, a 60 kW, 240 Nm electric motor drives an electric axle with a transmission ratio of 1:10. A dual-clutch Twinster system then vectors the resulting 2,400 Nm of torque between the rear wheels, improving dynamic response and handling.
The eTwinster is part of a range of eDrive technologies that GKN is developing to help shift the balance of power from engines to batteries. According to the company, current vehicle platforms can only draw around 30% of their energy from a battery, but small, powerful torque-vectoring electric axles could deliver 60-70% of the power in future vehicles.
“We believe our prototype torque-vectoring eAxle system represents the next step forward for the industry: a production-ready way to create higher performance hybrids that are more rewarding to drive,” said GKN Automotive President of Technology Peter Moelgg. “More powerful, dynamic electric drives from GKN will help put batteries in the driving seat and create new electric driving experiences for customers.”