Smaller Plug-in hybrids now possible with new electric drive system  

An innovative new all-in-one electric drive system has the potential to see many more combustion engined cars being offered as a plug-in hybrid with car brands no longer needing to source individual components.

The system starts production in 2019 on what its creator GKN Driveline, describe as “a global platform from a European vehicle manufacturer”.

GKN isn’t perhaps a name familiar to most, yet has a impressive C.V.  Past projects include a two-speed eAxle for the BMW i8, the electric driveline for the Mitsubishi Outlander and most recently provided the electric drive system for the BMW 225xe.  The business is all noted to have had a hand in the development of the Porsche 918 hypercar.


The new drive module integrates a water-cooled electric motor, inverter and single speed gearbox. The system generates a maximum 65kW of power and can deliver up to 2,000Nm of torque to the rear wheels, with the combustion engine taking care of things up front.

The complete eDrive module measures just 300mm high and 325mm wide and weighs 54kg, making it around 20mm narrower and 2.5kg lighter than comparable systems.

A smaller and lighter electric drive system will enable car designers and engineers to be more creative in their system design. This is another step on the road towards bringing electric vehicles into the mainstream market.

Having manufactured 300,000 electric drive systems, GKN is confident it’s experience will pay dividends.   They expect car manufacturers to be knocking on their door for an out of the box plug-in hybrid system to combat emissions laws and meet consumer demand.

Peter Moelgg, Chief Executive of GKN Driveline’s eDrive and AWD business, commented:

“Automakers increasingly want complete eDrive systems from suppliers, rather than sourcing the different elements from different companies. This is the first all-in-one eDrive system to replace external wiring with a bus bar and to eliminate unnecessary mechanical interfaces. The result is an eDrive system with higher power density that is simpler to install.”

The Founder of driveEV. A driving and new technology fan enjoying learning all about the future of motoring. I drive a BMW i3.