London is famous for its cabs and GKN Driveline says that the new electric taxis which will be used on London roads with be equipped with the company’s coaxial eAxle. The eAxle will drive the rear wheels of the LEVC (London EV Company, formerly known as London Taxi Company)’s electrified TX model.
GKN’s expertise in the manufacture of high-performance electric vehicle systems will be used for helping the electric taxis in London to achieve zero-emissions capability by minimizing packaging and maximizing performance.
The first version of the eAxle was used for Volvo’s range of T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrids. In these vehicles, the eAxle had an ‘axle split’ secondary drive role, with a 60kW e-motor that powered the rear wheels – working in tandem with a combustion engine that was used to power the front wheels.
In the LEVC TX, GKN’s eAxle functions as the primary drive unit, and uses a more powerful 120kW e-motor. The petrol engine at the front of the taxi is a small one that is meant to extend the range of the battery pack, and thus the taxi is always powered electrically by the eAxle. Based on official test figures, the TX’s pure-electric driving range is around 80 miles, and use of the petrol engine can increase the range to 377 miles.
The new variant of the eAxle has bespoke features which cater to the driving requirements. It is a lightweight unit that weighs less than 17Kg and has a mechanical efficiency of up to 97.5 percent.
Commenting on the new engine, Phil Swash, GKN Driveline CEO, said that London’s black cab is known all over the world and he was immensely proud to have a GKN electric driveline helping to power a new generation of taxis capable of running with zero emissions. The reduction of toxic emissions has become an important goal for global cities and using cleaner, more efficient taxis will play a key role in achieving this goal.
Swash added, “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 realise the benefits of GKN’s unique technologies and its expertise as a full systems integration partner.”
Within GKN Driveline’s coaxial eAxle, the components are packaged tightly and the open differential, reduction gearbox, the driveshaft section and e-motor all share a connected housing. This makes the eDrive unit easier to accommodate within the new taxi’s chassis.
The range-extender combustion engine is never used for providing power directly to the rear wheels, and hence the TX does not need a propshaft. This helps to further reduce the weight and packaging.
LEVC has already commenced production of the electrified LEVC TX at a brand-new facility in Ansty, near Coventry. The new taxi will meet the stricter norms that have come into effect from 1 January 2018. The new rules mandate a minimum 30-mile zero-emission range and maximum CO2 emissions of 50g/km for new taxis on the road.
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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