GKN opens UK innovation centre for e-car technologies

Global engineering group, GKN, has opened a new UK Innovation Centre for its automotive division, which will focus on developing state-of-the-art vehicle technologies and systems.

GKN is the global leader in two-speed electric vehicle systems – image courtesy of GKN

The innovation centre, in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, will use GKN’s expertise in electrified drivelines, lightweight structures, composite materials and additive manufacturing to create a range of new technologies for next-generation vehicles.

Central to GKN’s recently-announced Official Partnership with the Panasonic Jaguar Racing Formula E team, the UK Innovation Centre will also lead on delivering new components and technologies for the Jaguar Formula E electric race car.

GKN has already delivered its first parts for the I-TYPE 2 in the form of custom-built fluid ports made from laser-sintered steel.

The new fluid ports demonstrate GKN’s expertise in additive manufacturing, which can deliver parts that are more durable, have more geometric freedom of design, and are much faster to build.

A key area of R&D for future automotive applications is 3D-printed titanium, in which GKN is already a world leader thanks its cutting-edge aerospace division.

Phil Swash, CEO of GKN Driveline, said: “Our new UK Innovation Centre will develop an array of next-generation technologies that will deliver significant benefits to electric vehicle, motorsport and off-highway applications.

“For electrified systems in particular, GKN’s expertise will help automakers to develop lighter, quieter and more efficient vehicles.

“No other company can apply aerospace experience to automotive applications in the same way as GKN, unlocking exciting opportunities for additive manufacturing and composites.”

He added: “I’m particularly pleased to launch this R&D facility in the UK. GKN is a global business but is proud of its UK roots; we are headquartered here, listed here and our Divisions manufacture from 14 sites across the UK.

“This facility complements our global network and we are excited to start developing the automotive technologies of the future here in Abingdon.”