GKN Driveline has worked with Volvo Cars as a development partner on the front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive (AWD) drivelines of the all-new Volvo XC90, which has recently hit UK roads.
GKN Automotive President of Engineering Peter Moelgg said: “More and more car manufacturers are partnering with GKN to develop driveline strategies that combine engaging drivability with world-beating efficiency. The system created for the all-new Volvo XC90 reflects GKN’s changing role within the industry; no other supplier is positioned to offer complete front wheel drive and all-wheel drive systems in this way.”
GKN’s global development teams worked closely with Volvo Cars to find technical solutions that maximized efficiency, rear interior space, durability and performance.
The innovations inside the XC90’s all-new AWD driveline include a new VLX ball plunging joint for rear sideshafts that reduces weight and packaging space. The Volvo XC90 is the world’s first application of this new joint
. The vehicle also uses GKN’s new Countertrack SX8 fixed joint and VL propshafts, which improve efficiency and packaging. In addition to the sideshaft and propshaft technology, GKN also supplies the power-transfer unit (PTU) and the rear driveline module, which when used together transform the base front-wheel drive vehicle into all-wheel drive.
Peter Moelgg added: “GKN’s engineering teams were able to collaborate closely on the design and development for Volvo, allowing for complete system integration. The result was a better, more-refined technical solution.”
The new lightweight VLX joint is the smallest joint in production for AWD rear sideshafts. Designed to meet the strength and durability demands of hang-on all-wheel drive systems, GKN expects it will become the technology of choice for automakers seeking to maximize interior space in their all-wheel drive models. The VLX’s clever design makes assembly faster and also allows automakers to standardize hub interfaces.
The Countertrack SX8 sideshaft provides high efficiency, compact packaging and superior noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) properties. The design is suitable for high-powered front-wheel drive vehicles that require lower CO2 emissions and smoother driveability. The SX8 is 50-60% more efficient that competitor technologies, around 15% lighter and 8% smaller. It also allows articulation angles of up to 52 degrees, setting a new benchmark for constant velocity joints.
The all-new XC90 continues GKN’s longstanding relationship with Volvo Cars. The company also supplied driveline components to the first-generation XC90 and is proud to supply the majority of the driveline for this class-leading vehicle.