Ricardo reveals ultra-lightweight rear drive unit

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Engineering company Ricardo has revealed a new lightweight rear drive unit at the Low Carbon Vehicle Show 2015 held in the UK on September 9 & 10.

The firm says the new unit is 25% lighter than current production examples, taking advantage of component reduction and compact design.

The new drive unit is the result of a US$4.6m UK government-funded program investigating ultra-lightweight transmission and driveline components, which also involved Jaguar Land Rover and suppliers such as Lubrizol and Tata Steel, using a Range Rover as the baseline for research.

Ricardo’s contribution to the project is a clean sheet design, based around a lightweight differential mounted within a compact, single-piece skeletal casing with tough, lightweight plastic covers. The company says that existing materials and process have been used for quick potential series production, but that further performance gains could be made using next-generation materials.

“This unit can be adapted for almost any front, rear, or all-wheel driveline configuration, providing a highly cost-effective means of achieving a significant mass reduction – proving that even highly scrutinised components can be improved significantly,” says Jon Wheals, senior technologist of Ricardo Innovations.

September 9, 2015

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Dean has been with UKi Media & Events for over a decade, having previously cut his journalistic teeth writing and editing for various automotive and engineering titles. He combines extensive knowledge of all things automotive with a passion for driving, and experience testing countless new vehicles, engines and technologies around the world. As well as his role as editor-in-chief across a range of UKi's media titles, he is also co-chair of the judging panel of the International Engine + Powertrain of the Year Awards.

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