UK consortium invests in electric powertrain development

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GKN Automotive, Drive System Design and the University of Nottingham are collaborating on a US$10m project to design and develop electric vehicle powertrain technology for the global market. ACeDrive (Advanced Cooling and Control of High-Speed e-Drive) is backed by match-funding from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC).

Already progressing through concept selection, the consortium is aiming to achieve the level of technology and performance outlined in the Automotive Council’s roadmap for 2040 and have the system be production ready by 2023.

ACeDrive is aiming to be the world’s lightest and most efficient electric vehicle powertrain suitable for the volume market. To achieve light weight and efficiency, the system adopts ground-breaking concepts in cooling and system integration, leading to a significant reduction in the number and size of components.

The ACeDrive project promises to deliver a complete system that combines a downsized electric motor, optimized transmission and high-frequency inverter within a single unit, enabling shared cooling, within a compact housing.

GKN Automotive is responsible for the design of the ACeDrive system, including the overall packaging and the development of the motor, inverter and transmission.

Following detailed simulation and analysis, final design will commence in Q3 2019. Prototyping, rig and vehicle testing will follow in 2020, before a vehicle demonstrator equipped with the prototype system is unveiled for public demonstration in Q1 2021.

The project will be based at the GKN Automotive Innovation Centre in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, with support from consortium partner Drive System Design in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, as well as the University of Nottingham.

Gordon Day, general manager at GKN Automotive Innovation Centre, said, “In partnership with Drive System Design and the University of Nottingham, we are developing a truly advanced eDrive system, more compact and cost-effective than other technologies on the horizon. Our ambition is to help the UK take the lead in electric powertrain design and manufacturing capability.”

Simon Shepherd, head of electrified powertrain at Drive System Design, added, “Our whole system approach to engineering will help to combine next-generation electronic components, ground-breaking integration and a high-speed motor, to deliver significantly greater power density and efficiency with lower cost to OEMs.”

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Sam joined the UKi Media & Events automotive team in 2017, having recently graduated from the University of Brighton with a degree in journalism. For the newest addition to the editorial team, stepping into the assistant editor position signalled the start of a career in the subject he studied. In addition to his work on UKi’s automotive titles, Sam also contributes to Stadia, writing content for the magazine and website.

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