Search The Virtual Driver
Tagged for Your Convenience
#PinkBeetle 1940 Ford Coupe 1961 F1 season 2003 Mustang Cobra book 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 2012 Ford Explorer 2012 Jeep Wrangler 2012 Toyota Camry 2012 VW Beetle 2012 VW Passat 2013 Chevys 2013 Ford Explorer 2013 Ford Focus Electric 2013 Ford Fusion review 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2013 Hyundai Sonata SE 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo 2013 Infiniti JX AWD 2013 Lexus ES 350 2013 Lexus GS 2013 Mercedes GLK350 2013 NAIAS 2013 Nissan Altima 2014 Audi R18 e-tron quattro 2014 Detroit Auto Show 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee 2014 Kia Forte 2014 Kia Soul road test 2014 Lexus IS 2014 Mazda CX-5 crossover 2014 Mazda3 2014 Mercedes S-Class 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage 2014 NAIAS 2014 Toyota Corolla 2014 Toyota Corolla S 2014 Toyota Highlander 2015 Camaro 2015 Chevy Trax 2015 Chrysler 200 2015 Detroit auto show 2015 Ford F-150 2015 Ford Mustang 2015 Hyundai Sonata 2015 Kia Sorento SX 2015 Lincoln Navigator 2015 Mini Cooper 2015 Mustang 2015 Nissan Murano 2015 Porsche Cayenne 2015 Toyota Camry 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans 2016 Audi TT 2016 Chevy Camaro 2016 Chevy Volt 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum 2016 Honda Accord 2016 Honda Civic 2016 Hyundai Tucson 2016 Lexus RX 2016 NAIAS 2016 New York Auto Show 2016 Nissan Maxima 2016 North American International Auto Show 2016 Toyota Prius 2016 Toyota Prius unveiling 2016 Toyota RAV4 2016 Toyota Tacoma 2016 VW Golf SportWagen 2017 Acura NSX 2017 BMW 2 Series 2017 C-Class Coupe 2017 Chevy Camaro pricing 2017 Ford GT 2017 Ford Raptor 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show 2017 Golf SportWgen 4Motion 2017 Honda Ridgeline 2017 Mazda3 2017 Nissan Titan 2017 Subaru Impreza 2018 Buick Regal 2018 Corvette ZR-1 2018 Ford Expedition 2018 Ford Fiesta 2018 Ford Mustang 2018 Toyota Camry 2018 VW Golf 2019 Lincoln MKC 289 Cobra Achates Power Acorus Technology Acura NSX Acura NSX aerodynamics Acura RLX adaptive cruise control AEV affordable carbon fiber AIE rotary engine airbag technology Al Vinikour Alan Mulally Alfa Romeo Alfa Romeo 4C Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Alfa Romeo Giulia Alfa Romeo Stelvio ALMS alternative powertrains American F1 teams AMG SLS E-Cell AM-RB 001 AP Racing Radi-CAL Apple Car ArmorAll Arnolt Bristol AROnline Artificial Intelligence Aston Martin Aston Martin condos Aston Martin DB11 Aston Martin DB11 Volante Aston Martin V12 Vanquish Aston Martin Vanquish S Aston Martin Vantage Aston Martin Vulcan Aston Martin yacht Aston-Martin Atlanta Motorsport Park Audi Audi A3 Audi A5 Audi A5 Sportback Audi A8 Hybrid Audi bicycle Audi Q7 Audi Q7 TDI Audi R18 Audi R18 e-tron quattro Audi R8 Audi S8 Audi SQ7 Audi TT RS Austin Healey 100M Austin Powers Autocade automotive fuel cells automotive porn automotive safety systems autonomous cars autonomous driving autonomous vehicles Autorama Avocet Avro Vulcan barn find Beetle barn find Jaguar barn finds Barrett Jackson Battle of Britain Beatrice F1 Bell Pro Star Ben Bowlby Bentley Mulsanne Beverly Rae Kimes Big Bang Theory Bjorn Lomborg BMW BMW 2 Series Active Tourer BMW 3 Series BMW 6 Series GT BMW 7 Series Hybrid BMW i3 BMW i8 BMW i8 luggage BMW M2 BMW M3 CS BMW M4 video BMW M4 vs. Lexus RC-F BMW motorcycles BMW X4 BMW1 Series Bob Lutz BorgWarner Breitling watches Brembo British Motor Heritage BRM Brose e-bike Brush Hero Bryce Hoffman Buick Regal GS Buick Verano Cadillac ATS Cadillac CT6 Cadillac CTS Cadillac CTS-V Cadillac CUE Cadillac DPI-V.R Cadillac Escalade Cadillac Racing Cadillac V16 Cadillac XT5 Cadillac XTS CAFE standards Camaro 2016 Camaro Z28 Camaro ZL1 Camping World Truck Series Car Spy book carbon fiber chassis Carroll Shelby Cars in Context Television Cars in Context TV CART Caterham Caterham Seven Center for Automotive Research CES Chapparal 2X VGT comncept Chevy Bolt Chevy Colorado ZR2 Chevy crate motor Chevy Cruze diesel Chevy Sonic Chevy Trax Chevy Volt Chicago Auto Show China Auto 2012 Chip Foose Chris Craft Chris Wallace Chrysler Chrysler Hemi Chrysler Imperial Chrysler Pacifica Clarion C-Max Hybrid CNG Cobra Jet Mustang Cobra watch Continental Tire Controlled Power Technologies Cord 812 cork surfboard Corvette C7 Corvette C8 Corvette Racing Corvette sinkhole Craftsman CTX tractors Cragar wheels Cunningham C3 Dale Jr Dallara GP2 hillclimb Dan Gurney Dan Wheldon De Lorean Dendrobium EV Denise McCluggage Derek Warwick Detroit Auto Show Detroit Electric diesel engine Dieselgate Dodge Dodge Avenger Dodge Challenger Dodge Dart GT Dodge Demon Dodge Durango SRT domestic energy Donald Trump donuts drag racing Dragon software DRB-Hicom Dream Cruise Drift mode driver alert Ducati Ducati 1926 Ducati 899 Panigale Ducati Desmosedici V4 Ducati Monster Ducati Museum Ducati Scrambler Ducati Testastretta Eagle GB Eagle Indy cars Eagle Speedster Eddie Rickenbacker Edsel Ford electric bike electric vehicle demand electric vehicle recharging electric vehicles Elemental Rp1 EPA EV future Evanta F-150 SuperCrew federal bureaucracy Federal-Mogul Ferdinand Piech Ferrari Ferrari 330 P4 Ferrari 488 GTB Ferrari dog kennels Ferrari expo Ferrari F12 Ferrari F12tdf Ferrari GTO FerrariGTC4Lusso FEV Fiat 124 Abarth Fiat 500 Abarth Fiat 500 furniture Fiat 500X Fiat Chrysler business plan Fiat S76 Fiat-Chrysler Fod Kuka robot Ford Ford at Le Mans Ford BoxLink Ford e-bikes Ford EcoSport Ford Edge Ford Explorer Sport Ford F-150 EcoBoost Ford F-150 Tremor Ford F-350 Ford Fiesta ST Ford Focus RS reveal Ford Focus ST Ford Fusion Ford GT Ford GT book review Ford GT Mk. IV Ford GT40 Ford Ka+ Ford Mustang Ford Mustang GT Ford Mustang GT350 Ford S-Max Ford Transit Ford Transit Connect Ford Transit Connect Titanium Formula One Formula One rules Forza Motorsport Fox News Sunday Fq hybrid braking Frankfurt Motor Show FR-S vs Miata Geely Genesis G70 Geneva Motor Show Global RallyCross GM GM Electrovan GM engines GM recalls GMC Canyon Denali Goodwood Festival of Speed Google car graphene ground effects Group Lotus Haddords Caterhan Seven HANS device Harley-Davidson Harley-Davidson Breakout Harley-Davidson LiveWire Harley-Davidson Seventy-Two Harley-Davidson SuperLow Harley-Davidson Switchback Haynes Owners' Workshop Manual healthcare Henry Ford high-performance hybrid Honda ATVs Honda Clarity FCV Honda CVCC Honda endurance engine Honda motorcycles Honda NSX Honda Pilot Honda RA272 Honda RC213V-S HondaJet hot hatch Husqvarna hybrids Hyundai Hyundai Accent Hyundai designers Hyundai Elantra Hyundai Elantra GT Hyundai Elantra Sport Hyundai Genesis Hyundai Genesis Coupe Hyundai Kona Hyundai Motorstudio Hyundai Veloster Hyundai Vision G Coupe Indianapolis Motor Speedway Indy 500 IndyCar Infiniti Infiniti Q50 Infiniti QX56 Infiniti VC-T inflatable child seat internal combustion engines iPhone 6 J.D. Power and Associates Jabuar Jaguar Jaguar C-X16 Jaguar E-Pace Jaguar E-Type Jaguar F-Type Jaguar luggage Jaguar XE Jaguar XJL Jaguar XKSS Jaguar XKSS continuation Jeep Cherokee Jeep concepts Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Jeep Renegade Jeep Renegade Latitude Jeep Wrangler Jensen GT jet prropulsion Jim Clark John Bereisa John Krafcik Juan Manuel Fangio Kia Forte Koup SX Kia Optima Kia Rio Kia Sorento Kia Soul Kia Stinger Kia Stonic L.A. Auto Show LaFerrari convertible Lamborghini Lamborghini EV concept Lamborghini speakers Lancia Delta Integrale Land Rover LR2 Land Rover pedal car Las Vegas Le Mans lead-acid batteries LED headlights Lego Technic book Lexus ES350 Lexus GS350 F Sport Lexus hoverboard Lexus LC Lexus LS Lexus LS concept Lexus LS460 LExus LX 570 Lexus NX 200t F Sport Lexus RC 350 Lexus RC F Lexus RX 450h Ligier LMP3 prototype Lincoln MKC Lincoln MKX Lincoln MKZ Lincoln Motor Company Lincoln Navigator L Lincoln's future Lingenfelter LiquidPiston Lister Knobbly Lister Stirling Moss edition Lola LMP1 Lotus Lotus Elite Type 14 Lotus Engineering Inc. Lotus Evora Lotus Evora 400 Lotus Evora Sport 410 Lotus Exige Sport 350 Lotus SUV LotusXI Luca Montezemolo Lucire Lyonheart K M1 Concourse magnesium wheels marble Ducati Mark Fields Martin Winterkorn Maserati Levante Maserati Quattroporte Maserati Tipo 250F replica matte-finish film Matthew McConaughey Maxion Flexible Wheel Mazda Mazda chair Mazda CX-9 Mazda Miata Mazda Miata RF Mazda Miata versus Ford Fiesta ST Mazda2 Mazda6 MazdaPro series McLaren McLaren 570GT McLaren 675LT McLaren 720S McLaren F1 McLaren MP4-12C Spider McLaren P1 McLaren P1 interior McLaren-Honda F1 Mercedes Mercedes 4Matic Mercedes CLA Mercedes comic book Mercedes diesel pistons Mercedes EQ Mercedes GL Mercedes GLA Mercedes GLE Coupe Mercedes pickup trucks Mercedes van Mercedes-AMG Mercedes-AMG GT Mercedes-AMG-GT Concept Mercedes-Benz 300SLR recreation Mercedes-Benz E-Class Mercedes-Benz furniture metal matrix composite brakes Mewrcedes-Benz X-Class MG wrist watch Michael Horn Michael Schumacher Michelin Mike Hawthorn Mini Mini Clubman Mini Clubman ALL4 Mini Cooper S 4-door Mini Countryman Mini Coupe Mini hybrid Mini Mk 1 body shells Mini rally car Mini Roadster Mini Vision Mitsubishi Monterey Mopar Mopar shaker hood Morgan EV3 Motul multi-modal transportation Muntz Jet muscle cars Mustang hybrid Mustang tuning kits MyFord Touch NAIAS NAIAS 2017 nanoslide coating NASA Mustang NASCAR NASCAR heating scandal NASCAR rules new Prius New Shelby GT350 New York Auto Show Niki Lauda Nissan Altima Nissan BladeGlider Nissan Leaf Nissan Pathfinder Nissan Rogue Nissan Skyline history Nissan Smart mirror Nissan titan Single Cab Nissan Versa Note Nnissan Quest NSU R0 80 Nurburgring Nurburgring Nordschleife Oliver Winterbottom OnStar FMV Opel GT Packard Grey Ghost Page Not Found Alerts Pebble Beach Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance Penske Racing Peter Wright Peugeot 108 Phil Hill Pininfarina Pininfarina Coke machine Pirelli Pocket Classics police chases Pope Benedict XVI Porsche 911 Porsche 911 RSR Porsche 911 Turbo Porsche 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series Porsche 917 Porsche 918 Spyder Porsche 919 steering wheel Porsche 988 Porsche Carrera GT Porsche Cars North America Porsche Cayman Porsche P1 EV Porsche Panamera Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo powertrain technology Prius c Prius v Proton PSA Group Quixx racing Ram Ram 1500 Ram ProMaster Ram Promaster City Range Rover rebuildable batteries Renault Alpine Renault F1 engine Renault F1 promotion Renault Talisman Renault Twingo restomod Ricardo Engineering Rnage Rover Evoque Convertible road repair funds Rod Tempero Roger Penske Rolls Royce Bespoke Rolls Royce SUV Rolls-Royce Phantom Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Ross Brawn Rush movie Saab safety technology Saleen S7 Sammy Hagar Santa SBU V3 Scion FR-S Scion iA and iM Scuderia Ferrari self-healing tires SEMA Shelby Cobra Sir Malcolm Campbell Siri smart Solid Oxide Fuel Cells spare tires Speed Speed Duel split-window Corvette sport sedans Sportster St. Christopher Sta-Bil 360 Performance Sta-Bil Storage Star Wars Steven Tyler Stoner Car Care Kit Stoner Clean & Repel Subaru BRZ Subaru Forester Subaru Impreza Suzuki GSX-R1000 Suzuki SX4 SYNC 3 tailgating Taurus SHO Team Lotus TechShop Tesla Tesla Model 3 The Aresenal of Democracy The Mitty The Virtual Collection Tim Richmond Tokyo Motor Show Tom Brady torque vectoring touchpad technology Tour de France Toyota Toyota 4Runner Toyota Camry Toyota hybrids Toyota iRoad Toyota Land Speed Cruiser Toyota Prius c Toyota Sienna Premium Toyota Tacoma Toyota Tundra Toyota Venza Toyota VenzaMcLaren MP4-12C Tracks novel Triumph Speed Triple Triumph TR8 TRW TRW touchpad Tucker 48 Turbulent Jet Ignition TVR U.S. Air Force Museum UAW Udvar-Hazy Center Ulysses S. Grant unionization Uniroyal tires vaporware vehicle restoration Vehreo fabric Visteon Volkswagen Volvo Volvo 40 series concepts Volvo Drive-E Volvo S60 R-Design Volvo XC40 Volvo XC90 VW VW Arteon VW Beetle Convertible VW Beetle Dune VW Beetle TDI VW Golf VW Golf R VW Golf SportWagen VW GTI VW I.D. VW Jetta GLI VW Jetta Hybrid VW MQB VW Passat TDI VW scandal VW Touareg TDI VW troubles Weego winter driving Wirth Research women drivers wooden boats Xcar video XPEL Yamaha Yamaha anime Yamaha sports car Zenos E10 ZF TRW
« Weego: Rethinking the Jump Starter | Main | Fact and Fiction: Autonomous Vehicles »
Friday
Feb102017

GKN: Drifting, from AWD to eAWD

By Christopher A. Sawyer

Ford Focus RS: Torque vectoring all-wheel drive makes it fun in the dry and in the snow.Ray Kuczera, Senior Vice President, Engineering and Technology at GKN Driveline, has a bittersweet relationship with all-wheel drive systems. “The first complete AWD system that we supplied was in 2002 for the Chrysler minivan. I was the engineering manager for that program, and it lived for a whole two years until some clever guy invented Stow-N-Go seating, and took the space where the propshaft used to go.” Undaunted, GKN kept plugging away, getting the contract to supply the complete AWD drive unit for the GM Sigma platform, Fiat Panda, Range Rover Evoque, Jeep Renegade/Fiat 500X, and MG’s compact SUV. It also supplies the rear drive module and power takeoff for Volvo’s XC90 and S90, Cadillac XT5/GMC Acadia and Chevy Traverse, and — perhaps its most well-known — the Ford Focus RS.

The Focus RS is the only volume production automobile to have a drift mode built into the system accessible by pushing a button. It has garnered tons of YouTube videos and breathless reviews, but there’s a secret not many know about the trick drive unit. “We got the Twinster through an acquisition,” says Kuczera. “It was originally a Getrag product.” Nevertheless, GKN saw the upside in this compact drive unit, and purchased the technology, spending time and effort to refine and downsize the package while increasing its torque capability. But what makes the Twinster so ingenious is how it adds true torque vectoring while reducing complexity.

“A typical differential,” explains Kuczera, “has a pinion attached to the propshaft. That drives the differential, and sends the output to the rear side (half) shafts. On a Twinster,” he continues, “you delete the differential and replace the torque outputs with a clutch on each side shaft, thus the Twinster name.” Engagement of the hydraulic clutch packs is electronically controlled, which allows you to instantly change how much torque is sent to each wheel. And, on applications like the Focus, the torque vectoring is increased by having the rear axle ratio a few percent lower than the front. “When you activate the AWD,” says Kuczera, “it tries to make the rear wheels go faster, pushing the car and giving it more of a rear-drive character.” And the clutches can be used in any combination, from one open to one closed, both fully locked, etc.

Focus RS Twinster Rear Drive Module.As you might expect, GKN says the Twinster could be used in a front-drive application. However, the effect on the handling would not be as pronounced, and the unit ideally should be integrated inside the transmission. “We have experimented with modules that are outside the transmission,” says Kuczera, “but it’s not as elegant as if it was inside. But if somebody wanted to do it, it could be done.” Also, the unit can be used to replace the conventional differential on a rear-drive vehicle, where its torque vectoring could be put to good use, and its ability to distribute lockup torque across the axle would outperform current traction control systems in foul weather. Combining a rear and front Twinster unit would be the best of both worlds, and open the door to a number of possibilities beyond the pure internal combustion engine-powered vehicle.
Kuczera gets a devilish smile as he says, “If I was to irresponsibly speculate, I’d say you may see an EV with a Twinster at each end at one of our test events in March.”

Because it is leveraging its technology across internal combustion, hybrid and pure EV powertrain in order to meet OEM needs, it can adapt the Twinster to each. Pulling the driveshaft from the Focus RS layout, for example, would make it possible to place an electric motor in the Twinster and, with the addition of a suitable battery pack, create a high-performance hybrid with torque vectoring e-AWD. Volvo uses a similar approach to create its through-the-road (i.e. no connection between the wheels driven by the engine and the ones driven by the e-axle) plug-in hybrid XC90, as did Porsche with the 918 Spyder and BMW with its i8. The fun doesn’t stop there, however. Pulling the internal combustion motor altogether and adding more batteries says Kuczera, “gives you a torque vectoring electric vehicle without having to use two electric drive motors, two sets of power electronics, and a lot more software code to coordinate them.”

Volvo XC90 eAxle.All-wheel drive and electrification are driving massive change in the automotive landscape. “The  eventual phasing out of the internal combustion engine — which won’t happen in our lifetimes — is the main driver of change in my opinion,” he says. “Our general view is that, in 2025, 40% of vehicles will have some electrification in the driveline, which is being driven largely by regulation.” This change also is driving integration within the driveline.

“In the future we may or may not make our own traction motors and inverters, but it is key that we have the expertise in these components,” says Kuczera. With the traction motor being the most expensive single part of an electrified driveline, GKN expected that it would become a Tier 2 supplier, not the Tier 1 integration expert it has become. So while the electric motor may be the most expensive single part, GKN has the responsibility of integrating it into the drive system and doing a complete function check of the system, which has its advantages. “Instead of using a piecemeal approach with a bolt-on motor,” says Kuczera, “we bought the rotational pieces, reduced the interfaces, used a common cooing circuit for the motor and inverter, reduced the number of high voltage cables, and integrated it all into a single package designed to fit into a defined box within the chassis.”

In addition, GKN doesn’t expect wheel motors to be the technology of choice. “There’s a place for wheel motors,” says Kuczera, “and that’s in city cars here you have a need for a tight turning radius that would require CVJ (constant velocity joint) angles in excess of 60 degrees.” Mid-size vehicles, on the other hand, will shift to plug-in hybridization and battery electric drive, with power outputs for the electric drive system rising above 100 kW. “These vehicles,” he continues, “will have multi-speed, multi-mode transmission, and eDrive modules with multi-speed transmissions.” Currently, BMW’s i8 is the only electric-drive vehicle on the market with a multi-speed transmission.

BMW i8 two-speed eAxle.“EVs currently have had one speed because that was good enough,” says Kuczera, “and you can get a lot of performance in a single-speed system.” Another plus is the lack of torque interruption as the gearbox switches gears. This is important in China, where the pause between gears is seen as a fault, while in the West this pause fits into the driver’s preconceived notion of how a vehicle should respond. However, vehicles like the i8, and the mooted +100 kW mid-size vehicles, need a multi-speed transmission to provide electric drive across the entire vehicle speed range. That said, one thing these eDrive units won’t be is large. Says Kuczera, “The i8 transmission had to fit in a very tight slot, which helped define its long, thin shape. As we move to powdered metal gear sets,” which GKN will build through its powdered metal division. “we’ll be able to make the gears for these units smaller, but with greater strength.”

As I come to the end of my interview time, I spot a Jeep Wrangler just outside the window, and ask Kuczera what GKN could do to that vehicle with a clean-sheet approach. “Assuming that we’re in a similar global regulatory environment, and a few years down the road,” he begins, “I would have to assume there’d be need for capability as well as fuel efficiency, which would require electric drive.” The resulting design would pair a small internal combustion engine with eAxles at each end, the ICE providing electrical power to a battery pack integrated into the Jeep’s flat floor. The design of which suggests an electric skateboard platform that could be used in multiple Jeep products. “The great thing about electric motors when it comes to off-roading,” says Kuczera with a big grin, “is that they produce 100% torque from 0 rpm. You could make the most murderously great off-road vehicle with electric drive.”  Perhaps it will be the next proof-of-concept design GKN produces for a future customer test event.

Who is GKN?

If you’ve ever had to replace a constant velocity joint, you probably know GKN — or one of its licensees. Six days older than Guinness & Co., the company that would become the leader in constant velocity joints, side shafts and all-wheel drive systems is now 257 years old. It began life as the Dowlais Iron Company in 1759, and was one of the first companies in the world to be run by a woman — Lady Charlotte Guest, wife of founder Sir John Guest, who died in 1852. GKN didn’t arrive until 1902, when Guest, Keen & Co. took over the Nettlefold wood screw mill. Just three years earlier, Keen had done a reverse takeover of the much larger Dowlais Iron Co., which would supply steel for his Patent Nut & Bolt Co. By 1905 GKN was the 15th largest company in Britain.

It was forced out of the steel business in 1951 when Britain’s Labour government nationalized the steel industry, paying GKN £18.7 million for its steel assets. It bought them back four years later for £12 million, then the Labour government of Harold Wilson, elected in 1964, renationalized the steel industry in 1967. Though it had been left with a few steel assets, the management of GKN spent this time exploring new industries and technologies, and bought a controlling interest in the Birfield automotive components group. Birfield’s primary business was making driveshafts but it had in its portfolio Hardy Spicer and Uni-Cardan, companies that made constant velocity joints. BMC’s Mini used Hardy Spicer units.The rest, as they say, is history.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>