GKN to supply eAxle for electric London taxi

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GKN Driveline has developed a new coaxial eAxle for LEVC’s range-extended electric taxi. The compact e-motor, gearbox and differential provide power to the rear wheels of the electrified TX model.

Designed to minimize packaging and maximize performance, the coaxial eAxle was initially launched for application across Volvo’s range of T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrids. In these models, GKN’s system has an ‘axle split’ secondary drive role, with a 60kW e-motor providing motive power to the rear wheels.

In the LEVC TX, GKN’s eAxle will be the primary drive unit, utilizing a more powerful 120kW e-motor. A gasoline engine at the front of the taxi provides range-extended power to the battery pack. The TX’s pure-electric driving range is around 130km, according to official test figures, while the petrol generator takes the total range up to 600km.

“London’s black cab is recognized worldwide, and we are immensely proud that a GKN electric driveline is helping to power a new generation of taxis capable of running with zero emissions,” said Phil Swash, CEO at GKN Driveline. “NOx reduction is a key target of global cities and developing cleaner, more efficient taxis will play a significant role in achieving that.

“This project is another showcase for our scalable eAxle technologies, which are enablers of cost-effective plug-in hybrid and range-extended electric models. LEVC is the latest vehicle manufacturer to realize the benefits of GKN’s unique technologies and its expertise as a full systems integration partner.”

The components within the company’s coaxial eAxle design are tightly packaged, with the reduction gearbox, open differential, driveshaft section and e-motor sharing a connected housing. As the range-extender combustion engine doesn’t provide power directly to the rear wheels, the TX does not need a propshaft, meaning reduced weight and a smaller package.

Production of the electrified LEVC TX is underway at a new facility in Coventry, UK.

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Matt joined UKi Media & Events in 2014 after seven years of living and working in Dubai. He has been a journalist for over a decade and has worked for a wide range of publications, including Rolling Stone, Time Out, iQ and Loaded. After starting out on the automotive team as deputy editor of Engine Technology International, Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International and Transmissions Technology International, he began editing Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International in 2016, and took over as editor of Tire Technology International in 2018.

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