Is the i8 the Future of the Performance Car?

EVO’s Henry Catchpole asks that question while taking a look at the recent history of hybrid and electric cars. The BMW i8 represents a significant shift in the way people view hybrid sports cars. But can it overcome the stigma of what came before it?

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  • Nick Dawson

    GKN Driveline, a British multinational automotive and aerospace components company, knows something about electric motors in performance car applications because it helped BMW develop the i8, which uses one of GKN’s electric front axels combining a high-output electric motor and a two-speed transmission. GKN is unconvinced by Tesla’s battery technology, and says that so many laptop batteries packaged together in such a simple way can’t be a good long term automotive solution, and is convinced that hydrogen fuel cell technology is the best long-term solution for the automotive industry.

    GKN’s roots stretch back to 1759, at the birth of the Industrial Revolution, when it opened its first iron foundry. It has reinvented its business countless times over the past 225 years, and today is the world’s biggest supplier of automotive driveline components and systems. The company is perhaps best known for supplying CV joints for front-wheel drive cars, most memorably the original Mini. Today, the growth part of the business now is making transmissions for hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric passenger vehicles. It’s most advanced automotive transmission is the multi-model transmission on the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.