Automotive drivetrain parts supplier GKN Driveline, which furnishes the innovative “Twinster” all-wheel-drive system used in the current Ford Focus RS hot hatch, has previewed a new electric axle concept ahead of the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany. Dubbed the “eTwinsterX”, the system “represents the world’s most advanced electrified driveline technology,” according to a release, boasting small packaging, leading efficiency, and Twinster torque-vectoring just like the Focus RS has.
GKN’s new eTwinsterX concept axle features a coaxial format that lends it a much smaller size than any comparable existing system with an equal or greater level of power output. In theory, this should allow it to be easily integrated into a variety of different vehicle platforms, greatly opening up the range of possibilities for future applications.
Yet despite its small size, the eTwinsterX axle also features two forward speeds, where most electric drivetrains have a single ratio. Tesla Motors attempted to put a two-speed transmission in its Lotus Elise-based Roadster electric sportscar back in 2007, but it proved too difficult to be worth the bother. However, like any internal-combustion engine, electric motors have an optimal speed range in which efficiency is maximized, and the extra drive gear should help deliver greater range, along with superior performance.
And finally, the eTwinsterX’s inclusion of Twinster torque-vectoring means that it’s capable of delivering strong handling performance with good cornering agility and stability. Calibration of the Twinster system can also be tailored to suit the wants and needs of individual manufacturers, so that the automaker can tune the system to provide whatever sort of driving characteristics are desired, and the system is suitable even for off-road use.
Does that mean we’ll see a production eTwinsterX axle with a “Drift” mode like the Focus RS has? Possibly.
“The new eTwinsterX axle is a combination of GKN Driveline technologies that will deliver unrivaled capabilities for the next generation of electric vehicles,” says GKN Driveline CEO of AWD and eDrive Peter Moelgg. “It takes multiple award-winning elements from our driveline portfolio and applies the principles in a single state-of-the-art electrified system. Furthermore, our capability as a complete systems integration partner will allow us to calibrate this eAxle to deliver fully brand-aligned experiences for our OEM customers.”
The GKN eTwinsterX concept axle will be officially unveiled at Frankfurt on Tuesday, September 12th.