AMS tests eAAM’s electric 4WD system

UPDATE at the end

In this world there are lucky people, and less lucky people, but if somebody starts his report with the sentence:

“It can’t be more fun than this in a car – at least with your pants on. Trust us!”

then he belongs to the lucky ones. ๐Ÿ™‚

Pรคr Brandt from the Swedish car-magazine auto motor & sport was one of those few lucky people that have been able to test e-AAM’s new electric 4WD system.

Earlier in 2010 Saab joined forces with AAM to bring to life an electrical rear axle. This idea wasn’t a new one as the Saab engineers started working on that in 2007.
After the whole Saab affair the project came back to life. Saab understood at that time, that they needed an independent partner, not only to help financing the development, but also for a later marketing of the product to other companies.

American Axle Manufacturing (AAM) was rapidly seen as the prefect partner. AMM wasn’t too big and needed to acquire hybrid technology knowledge in order to be competitive in the near future.

About 20 engineers from Saab changed employer to e-AAM driveline systems AB, and they seem to have fun in their new job.

But why can a so boring looking piece of metal like this, be so much fun?


Well this thingy is a torque vectoring plug-in hybrid, electric car, all wheel drive system, in whatever combination of the above you prefer.

For instance the current 9-3 diesel with 119g/km CO2 could reduce this value to 84g/km and at the same time also reduce the 0-100kph value by a second, if it would use the eXWD rear axle. So you can reduce the consumption by almost 30% and increase the performance at the same time, not to forget that you would also have all the positive effects of a torque vectoring AWD system, and for the same money as a mechanical AWD system.

And what is this torque vectoring?
By rising the torque on the rear outer wheel in a curve, the car tends to steer in the curve without the help of the steering wheel. Other mechanical systems do brake the inner wheel to reach a similar effect, but if you want to be fast around the corner, braking has never been useful !! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Yes there are some mechanical systems that are also able to do that, but they can’t change their character by pressing a button. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Pรคr Brandt did test this little devil in a current 9-3:

We have tested today’s 9-3 with eAWD and can only conclude that this is one of the biggest technological breakthrough that have occurred in recent decades. As driver, you experience a magical feeling that the car reads your mind going to where you want, at least as long as there is some little grip left in the tires.

The first car with this system will be the NG9-3, but there are already some third parties willing to pay some Krona in order to be allowed to use this system.

Magnus Rydell, from e-AAM, even thinks that their system is 2 years ahead of their closest competitor.

The information given in this article is too much to summarize it in a short post, but I would like to expose to facts:

— The system can be used as a fun to drive 4WD system, but it can also be used in a hybrid configuration, or you can also put a bigger engine and use it in a plug-in hybrid car, or maybe in an all-electric RWD car (i3 anyone), or use the system also for the front wheel having a all-electric AWD car, with the same torque vectoring capabilities.

— While I have the impression that Volvo and Peugeot have concentrated their development on the CO2 reduction, the Saab engineers have created a multi-purpose system that can be fun to drive while being able to reduce the consumption by a big amount, which is in accordance with the responsible performance tag.

Audi said last year that the A4 would come out in 2014 with a similar system, BMW
has created a partnership with PSA (Peugeot-Citroen) to develop the RWD-system of their new i3 car. I’m really getting excited about the next 9-3.

//RedJ

I have some answers to some of your questions from Djup Strupe.

The difference between the Saab system and the Peugeot system for instance is the torque vectoring capability. The system from Peugeot is simply an electric drive rear axle, as you can find it also on the Lexus RX. See the video for comparison.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njo5zBeFtr0&feature

And for the ones that want the system now.
e-AAM has already reduced the development time by one year in order to be able to deliver the system in time for the launch of the NG9-3. It would be nice to have it now, but it is still not ready for the market.

saabsideways
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Want.

74StingSaab
Member
5 years 5 months ago

me first..

till72
Member
5 years 5 months ago

no, me!

martinsaab
Member
5 years 5 months ago

me first for the eAAM convertible ๐Ÿ™‚

anders
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Thats an interesting thought. Then we truly have a year-round convertible ๐Ÿ™‚

Juerg_U
Member
5 years 5 months ago

+1, I know what I’m saving for ;-), ordered the 9-5SC already but I know what I want in 2years time, great invention!

Katsura
Member
5 years 5 months ago
Wow! This is FANTASTIC NEWS! This is the best I have heard in quite a few months. Let all teh finiancial discussion be relegated to a 2nd place = this is what Saab should do and have used to do so well – Build left of the field solutions that leads the pack. Fuel efficiency AND more performance. Just WOW!! I can just pictire Jeremy Clackson or one of the TG gang powering the NNG9-3 though the air field track with a HUGE grin on his/ their face. Go Saab, FLY HIGH! Incidentally they should trade mark or someone coin… Read more »
Audun
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Everytime someone have asked me about the situation for SAAB I’ve told them about the current 9-3, both sedan and estate, with a lot of power and only 119g CO2/km.
I’ve also told them about the next 9-3 with the eAAM rear axle and reduced consumption. ๐Ÿ™‚

turbin
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Amazing, Katsura is right, this is headline news.

fred diesel
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Cool as Christmas! Now get ’em in the showroom “two years before your closest competitor”.

P.H
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Is there any possibility that this could be implemented in existing models before the new 9-3?

It feels like this deserves a lot more attention

w3c validator
Guest
5 years 5 months ago

As Pรคr Brandt made a testdrive of the system in an existin 9-3 – I think the answer is yes. But I also think that it’s all about money and time, so no – I don’t think we will ever see it in the existing 9-3. The cost would be too high to implement it for the short remaining life span of the model, and I don’t think they have time to fine tune it in reasonable time for that either.

Carmania
Member
5 years 5 months ago

But there is the 9-5 and 9-4. Both would gain a lot from this system. 9-4 could become a volume seller in Europe if they could reduce CO2 with 30%.

till72
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Might be difficult with the 9-4x as it’s not built in Trollhรคttan. OTOH, if GM buys the system for the SRX…

Peter, Sweden
Member
5 years 5 months ago

I also think that an awesome technique like this will have a greater impact if it’s released in a brand new, Trollhรคttan-developer, car. I think the news-effect would loose momentum if they were to release this in an existing model.

And yes, it sounds really cool! Saab is still all about pushing up power, while pushing down consumption, and the “responsible performance”-tag sounds more accurate than in a looong time! Can’t wait to buy a NG9-3 ๐Ÿ˜€

TobiasE
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Have you seen the new Volvo?
http://www.aftonbladet.se/bil/article12902243.ab
Not as nice as a Saab, but isn’t it a little bit Saabish in the design?

Troels, Denmark
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Not bad for a Volvo. They have clearly been looking at Saab, Audi and Aston Martin…

saabista63
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Exactly!
Seems the design of the NG 9-5 caused some activity at the Volvo Design Center.

rune
Member
5 years 5 months ago

That blocky nose… It shares some traits with the 9-5, but look at the Ovlov’s nose… It ain’t pretty.

TobiasE
Member
5 years 5 months ago

I agree, the nose is a bummer.

zippy
Member
5 years 5 months ago

New Ovlov is hideouss, IMO!!!

turbin
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Absolutely so.

Tomas TL1000R
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Hopefully this is the breakthrough Saab need and the future successor. It would be great if it could be used in the 9-5 aswell.

RS
Member
5 years 5 months ago
IMHO Saab should wake up to the reality and put the eXWD on the current models this year in order to leave the financial troubles behind. This is not the time to plan/dream of things they will do in 2-3 years time. The dash upgrades and 9-5 SC were both 6 months overdue. They just can’t continue honing the products (the traditional Saab way) this long at the moment. Without pushing the sales this year in any way possible there might not be a future. This is not the GM era where you can take ‘one more day’. The next… Read more »
Audun
Member
5 years 5 months ago

I tend to agree with you on this.

matsthn
Member
5 years 5 months ago
That is simply not possible… Do you understand how many laws and regulations a system needs to pass before it can be marketet? They need durability tests, hot season tests, cold season tests etc etc….and just slapping the system onto the current platform is a MAJOR work….work which Saab right now does not have the cash to do. And even if they had the cash with the new 9-3 about a year away all that work would be for nothing because it would take alot more than a year to adapt the platform and go thru all the testing for… Read more »
Audun
Member
5 years 5 months ago

I understand, and I don’t complain. ๐Ÿ™‚
“Saab is aware if what they need to do and doing the right thing, theyโ€™re not stupid.”
I’m sure that this is correct. ๐Ÿ™‚

RS
Member
5 years 5 months ago
Matsthn, that’s the sprit I’d love to see from Saab as a company right now! I know the people in THN are smart -and tired- but it’s do or die time at the moment. The 9-5 (SC) with eXWD is mouth watering thought. A Hirsched TTID or V6 with an extra kick equals a winning combination to me. What a shame if the technology isn’t ready for production yet. One thing I’ve learned through the years as an entrepreneur is that time = fixed costs, is your biggest single enemy. Saab must to do EVERYTHING it can to create sales… Read more »
maanders
Member
5 years 5 months ago
I understand your enthusiasm for the eXWD system on the current models, but as was stated in the update above, the current versions being tested are pre-production units. Saab cannot offer this on a current model until the system is production ready. The testing is going on now to make it production ready. The last thing Saab needs right now is some new complex piece of technology that is not ready for prime time yet, resulting in potential recalls, mechanical issues, safety issues, etc. (Just look at what Toyota went through this last year with many recalls.) And while positive… Read more »
RS
Member
5 years 5 months ago
maanders, aren’t they testing and paying for this “new complex piece of technology” as we speak already. This is also clearly an EIB (environment friendly) project that has nothing to do with Saabs current liquidity issues. I think it would be foolish not to try and implement this tech (Saab-Saab stuff) to the 9-5 XWD asap, surely they’re not going to wait until 2016-17 (NG2)? Projects that will increase interest, sales and profitability in the long run are always welcome. A 9-5 eXWD (MY13?) could in fact be a huge deal for Saab while waiting for the JC 9-3. But… Read more »
RandomGuy
Member
5 years 5 months ago

RS: Who would do all the integration work? Everybody is working on the NG 9-3…
It’s quite a bit more work then just making it fit under the car. ๐Ÿ˜‰

sala or bust
Guest
5 years 5 months ago

If my memory serves me correct, there was talk of getting some hybrid stuff in the 9-5 during the presentation in frnkfurt 2009.
But, at the same time, many things and many thought have passed since then.

SaabClubAlaska
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Does anyone know if this system is also intended for the upcoming/proposed 9-1/9-2? It would be a HUGE boost to have eXWD available in a compact Saab.

Troels, Denmark
Member
5 years 5 months ago

I find this very, very interesting. It is exactly the right way to go for Saab, in my opinion. Innovations that, at the same time improves fuel-efficiency significantly and take the fun of driving to new levels. Just like the turbo, even though this is more radical, also influencing the traction.
I hope Saab, this time, have done their preparations in the juridical sense to protect the rights – and their honour as the innovator. It is really Saabs best card to be the very special, very innovative, high-quality, niche-car-maker, producing sophisticated multi-purpose family-cars with sportscar-driving.

MarkoA
Member
5 years 5 months ago

This is one of the main reasons why I strongly believe that Saab will be one of the most advanced cars in the very close future.

Audun
Member
5 years 5 months ago

+1

till72
Member
5 years 5 months ago

+1

Marco
Member
5 years 5 months ago

+1

viggen
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Indeed i think so to! +1

saabista63
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Well, this is the kind of news we can’t get enough of!
Intelligent innovation, smart technology … whatever you’d like to call it – that makes people listen!
What I like most, however, is the twinkle in the eye that comes with many of SAAB’s historical and present innovative processes. It’s not death serious. There is some taste of “Enjoy your life!” that – you bet! – other brands would love to add to their image – but it doesn’t work.
Let’s make it work for SAAB!

saabista63
Member
5 years 5 months ago

What I forgot to add:
It’s pure fantasy, of course, but what about about a final edition SAAB 9-3 with the eXWD system – just to teach some motor journalists what a heck of a car the 9-3 still is!

Audun
Member
5 years 5 months ago

That would be very nice.

Pedro
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Fuel efficiency and fun to drive in the same package = sex on wheels! ๐Ÿ˜€

anders
Member
5 years 5 months ago

I love all of this, but I do have one question. What is the thing with this system that does make it two years ahead of its competition, when for example Peugeot have their Hybrid 4-technology already, witch similair layout, power and fuel reduction? Is it only the programming that is more aggressive/sporty on the SAAB?

matsthn
Member
5 years 5 months ago

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvrQmTvDd5w&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kn8agLEzH18&feature=related

Pretty impressive, check the difference in steering input in the last video….

Audun
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Thank you, very impressive! ๐Ÿ™‚

Toby K
Member
5 years 5 months ago

For a long time now I have been warning my wife about this…because if the new 9-3 is as sexy as I think it could be-sort of sports car sexy like the Audi A5’s are but bigger and with a big hatch AND it has this e-AAM system hybridised XWD…then I’m going shopping! its a simple as that. I want a new 9-3 anyway-to have this aswell is like owning your own winter rally car-totally unbelievable and VERY exciting. Can I advance order??

Romac
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Anyone able to find the headlined article in AMS about this brilliant system? I’m struggling.

anders
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Its not on the website, only in the paper mag.

peeceepeh
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Can anyone explain to me please how this torque vectoring works. It seems that there are two motors, a bigger one and a smaller one. I guess there is some planetary gear involved to add/subtract torque, but how exactly is it arranged? I would have explected some combination of a differential and a planetary gear, but it looks too compact for this in the picture.

RandomGuy
Member
5 years 5 months ago

There is a semi-transparent image in the article from Ny Teknik:
Link
The smaller black part on top of the axle is an actuator, it shifts the drive from the electric motor to traction, neutral or torque vectoring. There are indeed both a differential and a couple of planetary gears in there, it’s visible in the paper copy of the article in Auto Motor Sport.

peeceepeh
Member
5 years 5 months ago
Thanks for the link, RandomGuy. So there is only one motor? I always thought that the idea was to use 1+1 motors (1 big, 1 small) instead of 2 big motors (one for each wheel). With only one motor this resembles the ZF solution for torque vectoring where torque is divided with the help of multi-disc clutches. Is that correct? Given that the development started back in 2007, it should be possible by now to see some patent application that covers the basic idea. However, I could not find anything in that direction in the net. Does anybody have a… Read more »
RandomGuy
Member
5 years 5 months ago
One motor, traction or vectoring. Not both at the same time, but honestly how many cars have a LSD in the rear diff? It’s totally different from the ZF, no clutches = no friction loss or heated clutch packs that limit the amount/time of vectoring. If clutches are used you also have a fixed maximum vectoring ratio so you need to compromise between minimum curve radius/speed and accepted clutch slip at higher speed/larger curve radius. With electric vectoring this is not an issue so as long as there is power in the battery you can keep using it. The response… Read more »
Carmania
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Another question is if there will be conditions where the battery is depleted so the 4WD no longer works? For example driving in very slippery conditions. Or will the generator be able to always deliver enough charge?

peeceepeh
Member
5 years 5 months ago
Ok, thanks for your explanations, RandomGuy. So the torque vectoring is not about dividing up (distributing) torque among left and right. I thought that there would be a motor driving the real axle and than one motor to “vector” it, i.e. distribute it on the two sides. Now I understand that there is just one motor that creates a positive torque on the right wheel (say) while creating a negative (counter) torque on the left wheel. So in “torque vectoring” mode, the motor acts between the wheels, while in “traction” mode, the motor acts on both wheels in the same… Read more »
Audun
Member
5 years 5 months ago

RED J: Thank you for this post, and thank you for this update! ๐Ÿ™‚

theSandySaab
Member
5 years 5 months ago

This is what Saab is about… ๐Ÿ™‚
Great news and updates, thanks RedJ!

TurboLover
Member
5 years 5 months ago

I believe this should be a standard feature on Saab. Will it come to current generation 9-5 as well?

jim
Member
5 years 5 months ago

I knew about this for a while bit it’s good to see it is coming. BMW 1.6l engine along with electric rear wheel assist. It was pretty obvious when the Prius came out that it could be used as a rear wheel system, making it 4WD without weight penalty versus a normal Prius. (well, very minimal penalty. near zero). The benefits of electric RWD are numerous. When you connect a battery, believe it kills most or all AWD passenger car configurations (= makes them obsolete due to cost and fuel drag).

GerritN
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Any more information about the e-AAM drive? HP? Torque? Price? I couldn’t find anything about it on the AAM web site. I’m just trying to figure out whether this would be a nice ‘engine’ for a RWD roadster, although I have the feeling it’s not powerful enough on its own still.

GerritN
Member
5 years 5 months ago

OK, bit of digging showed that the electro-motor of the e-AAM drive is 15kW (20HP). That’s not a huge number although the torque must be pretty high. Probably have to wait for the next incarnation with a bigger motor for a standalone application.

Carlo A
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Actually I seem to remember it was around 30KW…. but I am probably remembering the wrong figure

The NG 9-3 sounds like a very promising car, also with the Jason Factor

No 9
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Always thinking out of the box!
The new 9-3 is looking more and more interesting to me. Just hope it takes no styling cues from the Phoenix concept, which is a sweet Spyker concept in my book.

saabdesignshop
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Great news! I hope it could be manufactured soon!

aki
Member
5 years 5 months ago

Great news and hopefully it comes as fast as possible so Saab can outshine any other “similar” technology, Saab could use some good news like this in the press.

dohrmc
Member
5 years 5 months ago
Subaru has displaced Saab in many parts of the country. [USA] My son has a Subaru, and frankly, I don’t see what people like about them. They are not the most reliable cars, and they do not get good fuel economy with the all wheel drive. Perhaps a system like this, attractively priced, could be used as a hammer to make a large opening in the market where Saab once seemed to be a popular choice. This appears to be far superior to any mechanical setup I have ever heard of. I particularly liked the video of the car whipping… Read more »
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