GKN Automotive develops industry-leading ‘real-time’ test rig for electric vehicles

17 August 2022

GKN Automotive_EV test rig
GKN Automotive_EV test rig

Drive systems specialist, GKN Automotive has created a ‘real-time’ test rig capable of handling the unique requirements of electric vehicles (EVs) to develop the most advanced, efficient & capable products on the market.

The rig, installed at GKN Automotive’s Offenbach, Germany facility, can handle the extreme dynamics and higher torque of electrified powertrains, which make conventional load test rigs unsuitable for driveline parts of the latest generation, such as side shafts.

The ‘real-time capable’ unit can test specific load data provided by customers, from small electric city cars to the most powerful SUVs (sports utility vehicles) and is able to dynamically control speed and torque to replicate wheelspin and other complex driving conditions. This sets new industry standards for precision and quality control in the testing of electric vehicle components and enables engineers to deliver the lightest, most efficient solutions with no compromise on capability.

With over 20 years' experience in electric vehicle drive systems, GKN Automotive has led the way in analysing how best to design and engineer driveline products for electrified vehicles. It was early to identify that a new testing regime would be required to replicate the different load characteristics of electric motors compared to those of conventional combustion engines.

The cutting-edge test rig is complemented by GKN Automotive’s high level of engineering expertise, which is crucial to correctly setting up and executing tests on the new rig. Data must be selected and validated by the team to establish parameters for the test, and the system must be carefully calibrated during set up to accurately replicate precise load dynamics.

By allowing our team to meet the most exact standards while minimising the weight of components and the amount of material used in their manufacture, the rig delivers significant sustainability improvements to our products and, in turn, our customers’ vehicles. This results in enhanced EV efficiency and performance, highlighting the importance of the rig in our mission to drive a cleaner, more sustainable world.

GKN Automotive is already providing eDrive systems to more than two million electrified vehicles across the globe, with core driveline components selected for use in powertrain systems by a number of the world’s leading electric vehicle manufacturers.
Mario Syhre, Director, Product Technology at GKN Automotive said: “Electric vehicles place different load dynamics on our driveline components and this new rig allows us to accurately reproduce those to achieve an unprecedented level of testing. Components need to be much stronger to cope with the higher torque and the extra weight of EVs, without increasing significantly in size or weight, and remain as cost-effective as possible. The new rig allows us to accurately replicate the loads on our components, from small electric city cars to the most powerful SUVs, and deliver the lightest, most efficient solution.

GKN Automotive is the global leader in drive systems. A global automotive technology company that pioneered electric drive systems and is now driving the future of transportation. A trusted partner for most of the world’s automotive companies, it specialises in developing, building and supplying market-leading drive systems and advanced ePowertrain technologies.

GKN Automotive’s market-leading Driveline division demonstrates strength in depth, with an extensive portfolio of products that combine value with technical expertise. The technologies span high-volume low-cost vehicles to top end premium cars with complex all-wheel drive driving dynamics. These world-class products are being constantly refined and improved for global customers.

The ePowertrain division now offers solutions for all electrified vehicles and is a go-to technology partner, creating the ultimate electrified driving experience. Its ability to fully integrate eDrive systems derives from its all-wheel drive legacy and leadership. The first eDrive system being fitted to a production car over 20 years ago and is now powering over 2 million electrified vehicles worldwide.

GKN Automotive is headquartered in the UK, operating in 20 countries and employing 25,000 people worldwide.

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