Linamar Unveils Agilit-e Hybrid Power Unit—Improves AWD Fuel Economy By Up To 80 Percent

April 14, 2013 by Jeff Shepard

As global demand for vehicles with all-wheel drive (AWD) capabilities and increased fuel efficiency continue to grow, Linamar Corporation's newly developed Agilit-eâ„¢ Hybrid Power Unit offers automakers a modular system for hybrid all-wheel drive applications. The Linamar system also offers increased safety while reducing vehicle emissions and improving city driving fuel economy by up to 80 percent.

Linamar's demonstration vehicle, a Cadillac SRX, features the Agilit-e Hybrid Power Unit with twin independent 75kW motors. Its lithium-ion batteries supply the SRX with enough electric power to run up to 20 miles without using its internal combustion engine and provide extra power that can be utilized to improve acceleration when required. The twin motors can be programmed for fully independent active torque vectoring, which increases safety and handling by improving front-to-back and side-to-side drivability and optimizes vehicle stability during turns, evasive maneuvers and slippery conditions.

The Agilit-e Hybrid Power Unit can be integrated with virtually any existing standard two-wheel drive powertrain design to achieve an all-wheel drive hybrid system. The combination of conventional front-wheel drive and electric rear-wheel drive greatly improves fuel economy, vehicle stability and performance, at a reduced overall system cost.

"Consumers increasingly want the safety of all-wheel drive, the fuel efficiency of a hybrid, and the power of an internal combustion engine," said Mark Stoddart, CTO, Linamar Corporation. "The Agilit-e Hybrid Power Unit answers all of those needs without sacrificing performance or adding significant costs."

Agilit-e is a fully integrated, modular and scalable unit that eliminates mechanical complexity and allows for 'bolt-on' installation between the vehicle's suspension components. The unit can be used on a wide-range of applications from micro hybrid to PHEV/EV. The Agilit-e system is capable of powering the rear wheels in conjunction with the traditional powertrain, which drives the front wheels, allowing the vehicle to operate in four different drive modes: front-wheel drive (FWD) mode powered only by the internal combustion engine (ICE); electric only (EV) mode, which is rear-wheel drive powered only by the battery and the electric motors; and Hybrid and AWD modes, which allow the ICE and the rear electric motors to work together to provide the desired combination of fuel economy and performance.

In a vehicle equipped with the Agilit-e Hybrid Power Unit, the electric mode would typically be used for city driving, which burns no gasoline resulting in zero tailpipe emissions and maximum fuel efficiency. Hybrid-electric is best suited for a combination of city and highway driving, with the vehicle powered by the battery and internal combustion engine. The AWD capability is used when handling and performance are needed, for example, during evasive maneuvers or on icy, snow-covered roads. The vehicle's conventional engine will take control at highway cruising speeds where these engines operate at their peak efficiency.

The Agilit-e Hybrid Power Unit currently is undergoing evaluation with a number of global automakers.