Formula E inspired 800V electric drivetrains coming to cars

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GKN says new technologies provide faster charging times, increased driving range and higher performance.

Engineering firm GKN Automotive will ramp up development of its next-generation electric powertrain hardware because of the increasing demand for electric vehicles.

The automotive components supplier will accelerate production of new ‘eDrive’ technologies which will use 800V technology, which the firm says allows for faster charging times, increased driving range and higher levels of performance.

The company’s eDrive system has been in use for more than 20 years and already powers over 1.5 million vehicles worldwide, with systems found in both electric and hybrid vehicles.

“Global demand for EVs is accelerating fast and now is the perfect time for GKN Automotive to underpin its leadership in eDrive systems through next-generation technologies,” said Liam Butterworth, GKN Automotive CEO.

“These high-tech 800V systems will create faster charging cars with better battery range, improved driving performance and even greater efficiencies. GKN Automotive intends to continue delivering an increasingly electrified future,” Butterworth said.

GKN Automotive says future 800V systems are in an advanced stage of development and are currently being tested in real-world conditions, and believes improved efficiencies “could lead to car makers opting to use smaller batteries to reduce vehicle cost, complexity, and weight.”

The firm says development is being supported by its partnership with the Jaguar Racing Formula E team, where testing helps improve several system capabilities.

“Constant testing to improve efficiency, performance and extending the range of batteries in the ultra-competitive world of electric motorsport creates a direct link from race to road,” the firm said.

“Cutting-edge developments currently being developed for Jaguar Racing will likely be available on near-future road cars in just three years.”

The move forward comes after GKN Automotive announced the decision to close its Birmingham factory back in January, resulting in the loss of 519 jobs. The company operates in 20 countries, employing a total of 27,500 people worldwide.

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