GKN driveline says that rising demand for electric and hybrid technology means that it will boost the size of its eDrive production hub by more than 60%.
The UK-based Tier 1 supplier will expand at its European eDrive production facility in Bruneck, Italy.
GKN Driveline will boost the current 11,000sqm floor space by more than 60%, to create an 18,000sqm facility dedicated predominantly to eDrive production. To facilitate the expansion, GKN will relocate other driveline production to alternative sites in Europe. The expansion will also help facilitate increase production of all-wheel drive technologies, such as electronic torque management units.
Between 70 and 80 employees who currently work on constant velocity joint (CVJ) production will move into eDrive manufacturing. The project will be complete by 2019, which will result in Bruneck being predominantly focused on eDrive production, with 10 eDrive programmes expected to be delivered from the site.
The Bruneck site’s manufacturing portfolio includes the coaxial eAxle, featured on a range of Volvo plug-in hybrids, the world’s first two-speed eAxle, equipped on the BMW i8 sports car, and all-wheel drive products such as GKN’s Electronic Torque Management systems. The site was established as a production facility in the 1960s and now employs approximately 800 people.
Peter Moelgg, GKN Driveline All-wheel and eDrive CEO, said: “Bruneck has already established itself as a centre of excellence for the production of leading electric driveline systems. This major expansion will enable eDrive production to move up a gear, to deliver the growing number of programmes won by GKN for next-generation hybrid and electric vehicles.”
Beyond the Bruneck site, GKN also manufactures eDrive technologies in Japan, and it will commence production of eDrive systems in China next year with its Joint Venture partner, SDS.
GKN will relocate CVJ manufacturing from Bruneck to alternative Driveline facilities within Europe, while its Off Highway business will move to a new facility in Welsberg-Taisten, Italy.