BMW Group Innovation Days 2015: Drive technologies of the future

 

Note: International press release. This is a 1:1 copy of the original issued by BMW Group headquarters in Germany. No adaptations have been made to cater for the Australian market.

  • The BMW Group presents pioneering drive technologies during a driving event at the Miramas proving grounds in southern France.
  • The BMW Group’s largest testing facility offers the ideal environment for the intensive, real-world testing of drive systems and driving dynamics.
  • BMW eDrive technology from the BMW i cars continues to find its way into series production models from the BMW brand.
  • The prototype of a BMW 2 Series Active Tourer with plug-in hybrid drive system demonstrates the high flexibility of BMW eDrive technology; first plug-in hybrid vehicle from BMW with a front/transverse-mounted combustion engine, high-voltage generator and road-linked all-wheel drive thanks to an electric drive system at the rear axle.
  • Direct water injection enhances the efficiency of combustion engines at higher performance levels and also significantly reduces fuel consumption and emissions in key driving cycles for customers.
  • Hydrogen fuel cell drive system is a future-focused variant of BMW eDrive technology allowing all-electric driving with a high operating range and short refuelling times. The BMW Group’s many years of research and development work in this field are given fresh momentum by the collaboration with the Toyota Motor Corporation.

The integration of BMW eDrive technology into an increasing number of models from the BMW brand, the ongoing development of combustion engines with TwinPower Turbo technology and the concept of a Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) focused on the long term have helped the BMW Group prepare for the challenges of the future. Underpinning all these developments are flexible architectures and an increasing variety in drive system technology: efficient petrol and diesel engines, plug-in hybrid and battery-electric drive systems and, in the future, hydrogen fuel cells will provide effective technology for each individual segment and set of requirements.

The BMW Group test facility in Miramas: the ideal environment for testing innovative drive system and chassis technology.
For almost 30 years the Miramas proving grounds in southern France have played a central role in the development of BMW cars and motorcycles. With its stable climate and wide range of usage possibilities, the around 473-hectare site offers the perfect environment for the intensive testing of drive system and chassis technology. The Autodrome de Miramas was bought by BMW France in 1986 and has since been consistently extended and updated. As well as test tracks measuring a combined length of more than 50 kilometres (31 miles), Miramas now also features ultra-modern office and workshop facilities for the development and fine-tuning of new models and technological components.

At the heart of the testing facility is the erstwhile race circuit’s five-kilometre (three-mile) asphalt oval. Added to which, a motorway ring for high-speed tests, various handling courses and hills, plus switchback bends, rough roads and off-road sections can all be used for individual trials and extended testing programmes. Among the special features of the site are a reproduction of a section of the Nürburgring. Renewal work on the Petit Ovale at Miramas included adding a carbon copy of the ’Ring’s Caracciola-Kurve (aka Karussell) corner. The ultra-challenging section of the proving grounds has since provided the ultimate yardstick for the optimisation and fine tuning of chassis components and electronics control systems.

The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer plug-in hybrid prototype: BMW eDrive technology spreads to additional BMW brand models.
Electric mobility has added another new facet to the BMW model line-up. The BMW eDrive technology developed for BMW i cars is spreading its wings into other vehicle concepts as part of a plug-in hybrid drive system, highlighting its flexibility. And here we find it linking up with a front/transverse-mounted combustion engine for the first time. The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer plug-in hybrid prototype presented in Miramas is kitted out with a three-cylinder BMW TwinPower Turbo petrol engine driving the front wheels, a high-voltage generator mounted in the front structure and an electric motor sending its power to the rear wheels. The result is road-linked all-wheel drive similar to that of the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car, but here arranged in a mirror image.

And so the high efficiency of the plug-in hybrid drive system, the ability to run on electric power alone and the instantaneous power delivery when the electric motor comes on stream are complemented by an all-wheel-drive system unmatched in this segment. The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer plug-in hybrid prototype can cover up to 38 kilometres on electric power alone, accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in around 6.5 seconds and will achieve average fuel economy of approximately two litres per 100 kilometres, equating to CO2 emissions of under 50 g/km, in the EU test cycle for plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Direct water injection: cooling effect ensures extra power and efficiency.
Following the premiere of water injection in the BMW M4 MotoGP Safety Car, direct water injection for turbocharged petrol engines is now making its debut in a member of the BMW Group’s new generation of engines. This innovative technology, which increases efficiency by reducing temperatures in the combustion process, will be presented at the BMW Group Innovation Days 2015 in a BMW 1 Series model with a three-cylinder petrol engine.

The cooling effect triggered by direct water injection likewise imbues this unit with substantially increased performance and efficiency. Plus, fuel consumption is reduced when pushing on, in particular. The boost to efficiency is therefore significant – especially when the driver adopts a sportier style – and average fuel economy under everyday conditions benefits accordingly. Added to which, direct water injection reduces thermal stress on numerous engine components and minimises emissions.

Hydrogen fuel cell: pioneering combination with BMW eDrive, long-term option for zero-emission mobility.
The BMW Group has been conducting research and development work in the field of hydrogen fuel cell drive systems for over 15 years now. And a collaboration with the Toyota Motor Corporation launched in 2013 has further accelerated progress towards its goal of finalising approved components for a Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) by 2020. The fuel cell, which converts hydrogen into electric energy and water vapour, enables locally emission-free driving laced with the dynamics customers expect of a BMW – plus long-distance capability and short refuelling times. It therefore represents the ideal next layer of BMW eDrive technology.

The Innovation Days 2015 event will include, for the first time, driving presentations in which demonstration vehicles with a hydrogen fuel cell drive system will display the potential of this technology. Over the long term, the hydrogen fuel cell drive system will become an integral element of Efficient Dynamics technology, allowing the BMW Group to add further variety to a portfolio of drive systems which can be adapted flexibly to different vehicle concepts, customer requirements and legal stipulations around the world. Furthermore, the hydrogen fuel cell drive system also offers scope for integration into a bespoke vehicle architecture. Future FCEVs will therefore benefit from extensive freedom in the development of innovative design and space-related solutions, similar to that enabled by the LifeDrive architecture underpinning BMW i cars with eDrive.

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