Systems integration partner on the Volvo XC90

GKN Driveline is the driveline development partner with Volvo on the XC90, encompassing the two-wheel drive, all-wheel drive and electric drive variants.  

Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture is a key part of the company’s plans for vehicles that are more intelligent, efficient and fun-to-drive. The Swedish automaker has partnered with GKN Automotive to deliver the driveline part of the strategy.

For a new car to make a big statement, these days it needs more than just an attention grabbing feature in a flagship model. Consumers want to see real progress. They want innovations that offer clear benefits for their daily drive. That means thinking differently.


GKN co-axial eAxle

Partnership is more efficient

The architecture that underpins Volvo’s new cars offers conventional front wheel drive and all-wheel drive (AWD), while an electric axle module provides eAWD and plug-in hybrid functionality. Customers enjoy improved driving dynamics as well as a useful pure electric range for school runs and daily commutes.

GKN Automotive worked with Volvo Cars as the development partner on all three drivelines, creating an efficient front-wheel drive, a more dynamically capable all-wheel drive (AWD) – and a plug-in hybrid version that delivers the best of both: higher efficiency and thrilling dynamics.

Dynamic expertise

Working together on all three driveline configurations, meant Volvo could lean on GKN Automotive’s system integration expertise to accelerate programme delivery times. Not only that, the technical solutions maximized efficiency, refinement rear interior space, durability, and performance in ways that in-house teams cannot.

XC90 GKN track

The result places an efficient, responsive front-wheel drive system at the heart of the strategy. And it can work in harmony with either an electro-mechanical AWD system or a hybrid-electric rear axle. Both are designed to fit perfectly within the same tight packaging space.

That took some work to achieve. Fitting an electric drive with enough torque into so little space required a little bit of creativity. The result was a semi-integrated layout where the electric motor and the gearbox share a common housing to save space. The electric motor’s output also doubles as the eAxle’s input shaft.

XC90 GKN snow track

Driveline strategy upgraded

Volvo customers don’t need to know all this of course. They just know that if they want all-wheel drive or a plug-in hybrid, it’s no big deal. They are simple upgrades to the standard model that don’t compromise interior space.

Clear benefits. Real progress. It’s easy when you think differently.