GKN Driveline has started testing a suite of new tech that has transformed a Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 into a plug-in hybrid vehicle with a zero-emissions pure-electric drive mode, as well as axle-split eAWD functionality.
Last September, GKN Driveline debuted its ‘eTwinsterX’ all-electric axle concept that could be fitted to front-, rear-, or all-wheel-drive vehicles. The component supplier that has its tech on cars like the 918 Spyder has now come out with something revolutionary for SUVs.
The GKN Technology Demonstrator 2018 (GTD18 for short) is heavily based on the GLA 45, but has a plug-in hybrid system and mechanical and electric Twinster torque vectoring.
The company integrated its mechanical Twinster unit directly into the GLA 45’s gearbox and replaced the vehicle’s final drive and differential. According to the company, the changes have given GKN’s software full command over torque distribution between the front wheels via torque vectoring.
At the back, GKN took out the GLA 45’s rear axle, propshaft, and front Power Transfer Unit. With those components out, the company placed its eTwinsterX – a two-speed eAxle – and a high-performance battery into the car. On its own, the system is good for 160 hp and 155 lb-ft of torque. GKN also claims that it is a lot more compact than others on the market.
In addition to making the GLA 45 more efficient thanks to an EV mode, the GKN’s hardware and software can control the distribution of torque to all four wheels, which is a first for the company.
As one would expect, building the GTD18 was an extensive process. Transforming the car from a regular GLA 45 to the GTD18 required 99 major mechanical or electrical modifications and a total of 1,340 new parts.