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

  • GKN Automotive co-develops 1,180bhp powertrain for Ariel HIPERCAR
  • Development of bespoke test rig at Abingdon Innovation Centre received APC recognition and funding
  • New test rig will enhance performance, efficiency and sustainability of future electric powertrains for GKN Automotive’s OEM customers


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


London, UK, 18 October 2022 - 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.


Notes to Editors


GKN Automotive is the global leader in drive systems. A global automotive technology company that pioneered electric drive systems and is now driving the future of transportation. It is the trusted partner for most of the world’s automotive companies, specialising in developing, building and supplying market-leading drive systems and advanced ePowertrain technologies.

GKN Automotive’s market-leading Driveline division demonstrates strength in depth, with an extensive portfolio of products that combine value with technical expertise. The technologies span high-volume low-cost vehicles to top end premium cars with complex all-wheel drive driving dynamics. These world-class products are being constantly refined and improved for global customers.

The ePowertrain division now offers solutions for all electrified vehicles and is a go-to technology partner, creating the ultimate electrified driving experience. Its ability to fully integrate eDrive systems derives from its all-wheel drive legacy and leadership. The first eDrive system being fitted to a production car over 20 years ago and is now powering over 2 million electrified vehicles worldwide.

GKN Automotive is headquartered in the UK, operating in 20 countries and employing 25,000 people worldwide.




The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) collaborates with UK government, the automotive industry and academia to accelerate the industrialisation of technologies, supporting the transition to deliver net-zero emission vehicles.

Since its foundation in 2013, APC has funded 172 low-carbon projects involving 410 partners, working with companies of all sizes, and has helped to create or safeguard nearly 50,000 jobs in the UK. The technologies developed in these projects are projected to save over 297 million tonnes of CO2, the equivalent of removing the lifetime emissions from 12 million cars.

With its deep sector expertise and cutting-edge knowledge of new propulsion technologies, APC’s role in building and advising project consortia helps projects start more quickly and deliver increased value. In the longer term, its work to drive innovation and encourage collaboration is building the foundations for a successful and sustainable UK automotive industry.

In 2019 the UK government committed the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) to accelerate the development of a net-zero vehicle supply chain, enabling UK-based manufacturers to serve global markets. ATF investments are awarded through the APC to support strategically important UK capital and R&D investments that will enable companies involved in batteries, motors and drives, power electronics, fuel cells, recycling, and associated supply chains to anchor their future.

For more information go to apcuk.co.uk or follow us @theapcuk on Twitter and Advanced Propulsion Centre UK on LinkedIn.


For further information, please contact:

Corrie Raine

External Communications Manager

GKN Automotive Email: corrie.raine@gknautomotive.com