Birmingham auto supplier to base electric driveline production in China

The SDS technology centre in Shanghai

Birmingham-based automotive supplier GKN Driveline is to locate production of its electric drivelines at a joint venture factory in China.

Shanghai GKN HUAYU Driveline Systems (SDS) aims to produce more than one million eDrive units per year by 2025.

SDS will also manufacture the GKN Driveline Multimode eTransmission for a domestic Chinese automaker from 2018.
It is also scheduled to start production of the first complete eDrive system in 2019.

The complete eDrive system packages the electric motor, inverter and eAxle reduction gearbox within a single housing. It will first appear on a European OEM’s small car platform that will then be sold globally.

The scale of the SDS eDrive production hub in China will increase over the next seven years, with additional supply agreements set to begin for a range of domestic and international car manufacturers.

Production of electric and hybrid vehicles in China is forecast to grow by more than 400% by 2025, to just under four million vehicles per year.

Phil Swash, CEO, GKN Driveline, said: “We are seeing increased demand from automakers who want to work with GKN to develop the next generation of hybrid and electric vehicles, enabled by our state-of-the-art eDrive technologies.

“The growth of vehicle electrification is accelerating faster in China than anywhere else globally, so it is a logical step for GKN and SDS to establish China as a major hub for the development and production of eDrive systems.”

In addition to the increased investment in eDrive production capability, GKN and SDS will expand the engineering development resource in the region at the newly constructed SDS Technical Centre in Shanghai.

More than 300 jobs have been created at the facility, working with customers in China on local applications of GKN’s eDrive, All-Wheel Drive and Constant Velocity (CV) Joint system technologies.

Xue Jinda, SDS Managing Director, added: “We have unrivalled experience of bringing sophisticated driveline technologies to the Chinese market, working closely with GKN’s engineers.

“We are now targeting clear market leadership of eDrive systems in China. Our investment in new production and development facilities will enable us to take advantage of the rapid acceleration in demand for electrified drivelines.”