UK firms to collaborate on EV powertrain development

A consortium of British businesses and researchers are set to work together on a ‘world-leading’ electric powertrain.

GKN Automotive, Drive System Design and the University of Nottingham are putting their heads together to develop on ‘ACeDrive’ (Advanced Cooling and Control of High Speed e-Drive).

In total, the firms will put £8m behind the project, which is doubled by the Advanced Propulsion Centre’s match-funding scheme — a venture established to accelerate UK development of alternative-fuel powertrains.

The end-goal of the project is to create a powertrain that is ‘the world’s lightest and most efficient electric vehicle powertrain suitable for the volume market’.

GKN, which is taking the lead role on the project’s design, says it’s aiming for the product to be 25 per cent smaller in packaging size and cost, 20 per cent lighter and 10 per cent more efficient than current leading EV powertrains.

Development is said to be currently in the analysis phase, with prototype testing to begin early 2020. A public demonstration of the powertrain is planned for Q1 2021.

Gordon Day, GKN Automotive Innovation Centre general manager, 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.”