GKN Driveline announced a significant expansion of its eDrive manufacturing operation in Bruneck, Italy, responding to increasing demand from current and new OEM customers for systems to power electric and hybrid vehicles, it noted. The project will add 60% more production space — increasing the plant size from 11,000 to 18,000 sq.m. (118,400 to 193,750 sq.ft.), and will be complete by 2019.

The expansion also will allow GKN Driveline increase its output of all-wheel drive technologies, such as electronic torque management units.

GKN Driveline designs and manufactures a variety of automotive driveline components and systems, including constant-velocity joint (CVJ) systems, all-wheel drive systems, trans-axle systems, and eDrive systems. It is one of four business units of the British engineering group GKN plc.

The eDrive products— eAxles and eTransmissions— are developed in collaboration with electric and hybrid automotive OEMs to convert electric motors’ output into torque to power the vehicles. GKN has been developing and producing such products since 2002, for vehicles that include the BMW i8, Volvo XC90, and Porsche 918 Spyder.

At Bruneck its output includes the coaxial eAxle featured on several Volvo plug-in hybrids, a two-speed eAxle for the BMW i8 sports car, and all-wheel drive products, like GKN Electronic Torque Management systems.

GKN Driveline indicated that 10 eDrive programs would be produced and supplied from the expanded Bruneck operation. Manufacturing of other driveline products will be transferred to other sites in Europe.

“Bruneck has already established itself as a center of excellence for the production of leading electric driveline systems,” according to Peter Moelgg, CEO for GKN Driveline All-Wheel and eDrive products. “This major expansion will enable eDrive production to move up a gear, to deliver the growing number of programs won by GKN for next-generation hybrid and electric vehicles.”

GKN also manufactures eDrive systems in Japan, and next year it will start producing eDrive systems in China with a joint-venture partner, SDS.