It was report in late November 2016 that GKN Driveline is to extend a global partnership with BMW to include supplying electric axle drive systems for a plug-in hybrid version of the BMW X1 crossover vehicle, for the Chinese market. The new driveline system is part of a scalable family of eAxles used in the plug-in hybrid BMW 2 Series Active Tourer 225xe.
The eAxles will be manufactured by GKN in the small town of Bruneck, Italy, where the production of precision forgings used in the manufacture takes place. Development work was carried out at a GKN operation in Shanghai.
Phil Swash, GKN Driveline CEO, advises: This latest program launch for The BMW Group in China shows GKN’s global leadership in electric drive systems.
The BMW X1 is a compact crossover manufactured and marketed worldwide by BMW since 2009 in rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive configurations. Now in its second generation, the BMW X1 will be offered in China only with a hybrid powertrain: This version was introduced at a Chinese auto show in September, and based on a long-wheelbase version of the second-generation BMW X1, which debuted in the U.S. earlier this year.
Operating in 23 countries, GKN Driveline develops and manufactures automotive driveline technology and systems, including CVJ systems, AWD systems, trans axle solutions and eDrive systems. It introduced eAxle technology in 2002, and has expanded its scope from niche vehicle applications to a technology installed in high-volume, mass-market vehicles, for M-4WD and hybrid AWD systems.
Early versions of the eAxle drive were used by automakers to create plug-in hybrid sports cars with electric all-wheel drives. Now, automakers are using the eAxle to power newer compact vehicles with GKN electric drive technology.
“Automakers’ evolving powertrain strategies require suppliers with a focus on mass-production of key technologies – and system integration capability,” stated Peter Moelgg, CEO of GKN Driveline’s AW&E Drive business.