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GKN Automotive co-develops UK’s most powerful production powertrain for Ariel HIPERCAR

GKN Automotive co-develops 1,180bhp powertrain for Ariel HIPERCAR

GKN Automotive, the global leader in drive systems, has helped develop a 1,180bhp electric powertrain for the Ariel HIPERCAR, a new high-performance EV coupe.

Testing of the HIPERCAR’s electric drive units (EDUs)¹ was conducted at GKN Automotive’s Abingdon Innovation Centre on a bespoke test rig capable of fully replicating extreme on-car demands and dynamics, including simulated laps of a racetrack.

The world-leading test facility was developed with support and funding from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), a non-profit organisation that facilitates funding to UK-based research and development projects developing low-carbon emission powertrain technologies.

The extreme dynamic performance of the Ariel HIPERCAR required fresh thinking from GKN Automotive, a drive systems supplier with expertise in both ePowertrain and Driveline products, to develop a test facility capable of comfortably retaining control over the drive motors under road and racing simulations.

The ability to accurately and thoroughly test advanced powertrains with extreme power outputs (such as the HIPERCAR) enables GKN Automotive engineers to meet the most exact standards and ensure maximum efficiency. This results in enhanced performance and sustainability for the most powerful electric vehicles on the road and racetrack, benefitting GKN Automotive’s OEM customers worldwide and supporting its purpose to drive a cleaner, more sustainable world.

Sean Worrall, Senior Product Manager at GKN Automotive, said: “With the support of the APC, the HIPERCAR consortium has been able to create an amazing high performance EV sports car.

We’ve used the knowledge gained in developing the test rig and controlling such high performance to test high power machines for high performance electric SUVs, exporting this knowledge across the world to other GKN Automotive sites.”

Simon Saunders, Founder and Director of Ariel, said: “The testing and development work undertaken by GKN Automotive for Ariel on the HIPERCAR’s electric powertrain has been crucial in proving its suitability, performance and reliability for the final production model. GKN Automotive’s experience and expertise combined with their aptitude for innovation is what got the bespoke test rig designed and built – that resource has been incredibly valuable during this project.”

Philippa Oldham, Stakeholder Engagement Director at the Advanced Propulsion Centre, said: “The unveiling of the HIPERCAR is a major milestone for a project that is several years in the making. The process of developing late-stage technologies is fraught with complexity, which the HIPERCAR project has managed to navigate with support from APC. The value of this project goes much deeper than the cutting-edge vehicle on display; government investment provides emerging cleantech innovators with a platform for success, at a time when the UK is working to proactively secure its position as a key player in the electric vehicle revolution. The fact that the businesses involved in this project have gone on to achieve so much is testament to its success in creating highly skilled jobs and returns for the economy.”

The HIPERCAR made its show debut on the UK Government Pavilion at this year’s Cenex-LCV, where it was recognised as a major success story for innovation in the UK automotive industry.

¹Ariel’s electric supercar features four EDUs, one to power each wheel. Individually, they contribute 295bhp, giving the Hipercar a total power output of 1,180bhp. The four-wheel drive version of the car is expected to complete 0-60mph in two seconds, with 0-100mph possible in 4.4 seconds.


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