UK-based drivetrain manufacturer GKN Automotive has set up a real-time test rig for electric vehicles.

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

The real-time unit can check specific load data provided by customers, from small urban electric cars to the most powerful SUVs, and is capable of dynamically controlling speed and torque to reproduce wheel slip and other complex driving conditions. It sets new industry standards for accuracy and quality control in electric vehicle component testing and enables engineers to create the lightest and most efficient solutions without compromising on capability.

With more than 20 years of experience in electric vehicle drive systems, GKN Automotive has become a leader in analyzing how to best design and develop powertrain products for electrified vehicles. It was early to determine that a new test regime would be needed to reproduce the different load characteristics of electric motors compared to those of conventional internal combustion engines.

The state-of-the-art test facility is complemented by GKN Automotive’s high level of engineering expertise, which is critical to the proper setup and testing of the new facility. Data must be selected and validated by the team to set the parameters for the test, and the system must be carefully calibrated during setup to accurately replicate the exact load dynamics.

By enabling our team to meet the most exacting standards while minimizing the weight of components and the amount of materials used in their manufacture, the installation provides significant improvements in the sustainability of our products and in turn our customers’ vehicles, says GKN. This leads to increased efficiency and performance of EVs, underscoring the installation’s importance in our mission to create a cleaner and more sustainable world.

GKN Automotive already supplies eDrive systems to more than two million electrified vehicles worldwide, with key drivetrain components selected for use in powertrains by a number of the world’s leading electric vehicle manufacturers.

Mario Sire, director of product technology at GKN Automotive, said: “Electric vehicles place different stress dynamics on our powertrain components and this new setup allows us to accurately reproduce them to achieve an unprecedented level of testing. Components need to be much stronger to handle the higher torque and added weight of electric vehicles without significantly increasing size or weight and remain as cost-effective as possible. The new setup allows us to accurately replicate the load on our components, from small electric city cars to the most powerful SUVs, and provide the lightest and most efficient solution.”

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