GKN Automotive has announced a new £3.5 million Advanced Research Centre to develop next-generation eDrive technology and increase engineering capability to meet its Net Zero commitment. The company is also partnering with the University of Nottingham and Newcastle University to focus on the development of ultra-high-efficiency electric drive units (EDUs) for future electric vehicles.
“GKN Automotive is a pioneer of advanced eDrive development and this new research partnership will play a key role in strengthening the innovation of electrification technologies for future advanced propulsion systems,” stated Gordon Day, Managing Director, GKN Automotive Innovation Centre. “We are extremely proud that this research will be in partnership with Newcastle University and the University of Nottingham, two renowned and respected global leaders in automotive electrification engineering research. Both institutions will also play a leading role in helping us develop a supply of high-calibre engineering talent, which is essential to enable us to put the UK at the forefront of global automotive industry innovation.”
Both universities are part of the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), an initiative that brings together specialist academic, technological, and commercial knowledge from across the UK to share best practice for the development of low-emission propulsion technologies. The University of Nottingham is the APC’s ‘spoke’ for power electronics, and home to the Driving the Electric Revolution (DER) Industrialisation Centre – Midlands. Newcastle University is the organisation’s ‘spoke’ for electric motors, and leads the national network of four DER Industrialisation Centres, including the Driving the Electric Revolution Industrialisation Centre – North East.
GKN Automotive has been supported, in part, by the £10 million Melrose Skills Fund. The fund is allocated over five years across the UK; the first phase of investment saw the launch of the Skills Development Programme at the Abingdon Innovation Centre, which aims to support the development of engineering skills through STEM engagement, apprenticeships, training opportunities and internal staff upskilling. This next phase will focus on Research.
The planned research is expected to not only spearhead the development of disruptive technology innovations in eDrives, but support the UK’s technology roadmap set out by the APC. It also further strengthens GKN Automotive’s collaborative links within the UK Innovation Network.