During Year One of EcoCAR 2: Plugging in to the Future, Waterloo selected a series plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) architecture, featuring all-wheel drive for their 2013 Chevrolet Malibu. A key part of the hybrid architecture is the two traction motors, one at each axle. Each motor produces 105 kW for a combined output of 210 kW or 280 hp and 180 Nm
To get all this power to the road, Waterloo turned to competition sponsor GKN Driveline. GKN provided the team with two gearboxes; a fixed gear reduction eTransmission with built-in park lock and a compact eAxle with built-in disconnect. The eTransmission operates at 9.59:1 gear ratio, allowing for the motor to operate at its peak efficiency during highway driving. The eTransmission’s built-in parking lock works similarly to the park lock in a regular automatic transmission and prevents the vehicle from rolling away when parked. The eAxle operates at a 7.47:1 gear ratio and facilitates the unique ability to disconnect the traction motor from the wheels, thus improving vehicle efficiency.
Beyond donating hardware GKN has also provided invaluable technical support. Joe Palazzolo, Chief Engineer for eDrive Systems, provided the team with one-on-one advice and design guidance on mounting the transmissions. His experience and advice helped the team quickly integrate the gearboxes, ensuring proper orientation and mounting for peak performance. Mr. Palazzolo also provided guidance on drive shaft design, and pushes the team to design solutions that rival what is being developed in industry.
Waterloo is grateful for GKN Driveline and Mr. Palazzolo’s support, and is looking forward to unleashing the full 280 hp, torque potential of the Malibu. Waterloo hopes to be able to spin the wheels at any speed.