BMW i Concept.
BMW i stands for visionary electric cars and mobility services, inspiring design and a new understanding of premium that is strongly defined by sustainability. With BMW i the BMW Group is adopting an all-embracing approach, redefining the understanding of personal mobility with purpose-built vehicle concepts, a focus on sustainability throughout the value chain and a range of complementary mobility services.
The Future of Urban Mobilty.
Spring 2008. A top-secret location somewhere in Munich, Germany. BMW's most innovative thinkers. And one ambitious goal: the radical reinvention of individual mobility in megacities.
At the end of 2008, for the first time in human history, more people were living in urban communities than in rural areas. In Bangkok, a city of seven million people, rush-hour traffic on the roads of the Thai capital now moves at an average speed of less than 10 mph. In Los Angeles, the American dream city of individual mobility has turned into a two-hour crawl to and from work every day. In central London, all vehicles traveling between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. are charged a congestion fee. Clearly the solution to the challenge of urban mobility in tomorrow's world must be more than yet another new vehicle.
The response of BMW i to these challenges was to set up an innovative project with all the power of a start-up and the resources of a global corporation. A think tank called project i was commissioned to think out of the box and develop innovative, unconventional ideas. The team traveled around
the world twice, visiting megacities, interviewing dozens of urban planners and architects, and talking to residents. "We lived with people in these regions and observed their daily lives", recalls project leader Ulrich Kranz.
In just nine months, BMW's most innovative thinkers came up with an approach that has radically reinvented the automotive industry. A strategy that thinks in new vehicle concepts, alternative drive train technologies, new materials and intelligent mobility services. A program that covers every stage in the automotive lifecycle, from design and production to a vehicle's many years on the road and its ultimate recycling. The name of this program: BMW i.
In 2011, the launch of the BMW i Concept marked the dawn of a new era in terms of urban mobility. Because BMW i is going to change the way we move through urban areas all over the world.
BMW eDrive. An electrifying driving experience.
Thousand of electric vehicles, test-driven on three continents, enabled BMW i to perfect its innovative electric drive technology.
"Once you've driven a car like this, you'll never want to go back to a typical gas car." That was the verdict of Todd Crook from California, one of a thousand MINI E or BMW ActiveE test drivers from across the world who put e-mobility to the practical test in their everyday lives, driving to and from work and in their free time.
Todd Crook is certainly not an eco-minded Californian solely motivated by environmental arguments. Instead, his enthusiasm for e-mobility has been triggered by an electrifying driving experience. The most marked difference between his electric vehicle and a conventionally powered vehicle was not just its extremely agile handling, but also its uninterrupted acceleration from a standing start.
BMW's innovative eDrive technology is the result of years of research and tests – and its three key components deliver a uniquely exhilarating driving experience. The entire torque of the extremely agile electric motor is available from a standing start and uninterrupted acceleration is maintained up to the maximum speed, making the vehicle a delight to drive. The innovative battery technology is based on ultra-powerful lithium-ion cells with an integrated liquid cooling system that ensures the ideal operating temperature and boosts the battery's performance and lifetime. Third, the combination of an intelligent engine management system and regenerative braking extends the vehicle's range and enhances its performance.
Whether you choose to drive more dynamically or more efficiently, BMW eDrive gives you one key advantage on urban roads: zero local tail-pipe emissions.
Purpose-built and made to measure.
Though carmakers all over the world are rushing out electric models, BMW i's LifeDrive architecture is the first to be custom-built for electric vehicles.
In the early 1930s, progress in metal cutting and a desire for lighter, more powerful automobiles gave birth to an innovation that would dominate motor vehicle manufacturing for many decades: the integral monocoque body. Three quarters of a century later, at the dawn of the electric vehicle era, the BMW i team was again facing the challenge of how to reduce a vehicle's weight – this time to accommodate the battery for an electric motor.
The result of their deliberations was the world's first body architecture specifically designed and purpose-built for the series production of electric vehicles: the LifeDrive concept. In contrast to vehicles with a monocoque body, the LifeDrive architecture is made up of two separate functional units. The upper Life module mainly consists of a high-strength and extremely lightweight passenger cell made of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP). This innovative concept not only compensates for the extra weight of the battery unit, but it also lowers the vehicle's center of gravity to make it a more dynamic vehicle to drive.
The lower Drive module, a 100% aluminum construction, integrates the battery, electric drive train, suspension system and structural and crash components. In other words, LifeDrive ensures every BMW i vehicle comes with the kind of agility and electrifying driving experience you've grown to expect from any other BMW.
A lightweight design is not the only benefit LifeDrive brings. The carbon-fiber passenger cell is exceptionally rigid and strong. Moreover, in the case of the BMW i3 there is no space-consuming tunnel running through the middle of the vehicle since all the power components are housed in the Drive module. As a result, passengers can enjoy streamlined seating and a lounge-like sense of space.
The dawn of the carbon age.
The first-ever use of series-produced Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) passenger cells in automotive production is one of BMW i's most innovative and pioneering contributions to electro-mobility.
Since the added weight of the batteries means more power is required to drive an electric vehicle from A to B, this has traditionally reduced the range of electric vehicles. So much for tradition.
Through the first-ever use of carbon fiber components in automotive engineering, BMW i has succeeded in entirely offsetting the additional weight. Thus it is no exaggeration to talk of a revolution in manufacturing technology. Up to now, the use of carbon fiber components in automobiles has been prohibitively expensive since processing these high-tech parts required a great deal of manual work. But BMW i has changed this scenario with the launch of the first series production vehicle featuring a carbon fiber passenger cell.
Carbon fiber components have not only revolutionized light-weight automotive engineering but have also had a significant impact on the design of BMW i vehicles. The fact that carbon fiber is light, extremely robust and easy to shape has paved the way for more complex design features that have improved the aerodynamics of these electric vehicles and enhanced the sense of space inside.
First Volume Production of CFRP.
The selection of this high-tech material for a volume-produced vehicle like the BMW i3 and BMW i8 is unprecedented: CFRP has previously been seen as too expensive and insufficiently flexible to work with. However, with more than ten years of research and production expertise, BMW, together with SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers, now develops and produces carbon fibers and carbon fiber sheets. An ultra-modern, renewably powered carbon fiber production plant is being built at Moses Lake, USA. After a three-month testing period, production of carbon fibers for processing at the BMW joint venture plant in Wackersdorf, Germany, started in 2011.
BMW i Mobility Services. Smart Solutions for Big Cities.
The way we move through our cities is changing rapidly, with people keen to combine mobility solutions so they can travel more easily and conveniently. That is why BMW i provides innovative solutions to improve urban travel – both inside and outside the vehicle.
Big cities offer a whole host of appealing attractions and frustrating challenges: countless shops, restaurants to suit every taste, pubs, bars, cinemas and clubs on the one hand, and a chronic shortage of parking spaces on the other. What this means in practice is that not only the most suitable route to the urban location of your choice is vital, but also exactly the right destination. Both factors are becoming increasingly important in ensuring efficient and enjoyable urban mobility.
As part of its efforts to help shape the cities of the future, BMW i already provides a growing number of intelligent services and seamlessly integrated solutions. These are tailored to the specific demands of urban living, specifically designed to make life in a big city more pleasant – both inside and outside the vehicle.
The BMW Group's strategy has been as innovative as the range of location-specific BMW i Mobility Services. In order to approach the rapidly changing smartphone app business with the greatest degree of flexibility, BMW i Ventures was set up as a venture capital company head-quartered in New York. BMW i Ventures offers high-potential short and mid-term investments in the field of mobility services. As part of the BMW Group, it enjoys access to vast corporate resources and yet can act with all the agility and speed of a start-up.
The first set of apps developed for BMW i Mobility Services is available for download today. Many more are already in the development pipeline.
One thing you can be sure of now and in the future is that whatever new needs emerge in our vibrant megacities, BMW i will come up with a suitable solution fast.
BMW i and Sustainability.
Sustainability has played a defining role in the BMW Group's strategy and operations ever since the early 1970s. Since that time, many production processes have been optimized and many innovative BMW EfficientDynamics technologies incorporated into the company's vehicles, which have significantly reduced emissions both during the manufacturing process and during the useful life of the vehicle.
But sustainability is not confined solely to environmental issues. The BMW Group addresses all three dimensions of sustainability: environmental, economic and social. Just how successful the BMW Group has been in its actions to promote sustainability is clear not least from its position in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index: the BMW Group heads this ranking list for the eighth time running, making it the most sustainable company in the automotive sector.
THE BMW i LIFE DRIVE ARCHITECTURE:
A NEW DESIGN PHILOSOPHY FOR LESS
WEIGHT AND MORE RANGE.
Two separate functional units, a Drive Module made from aluminum and a Life Module passenger cell composed of high-tech carbon fiber. Together, they create an ultra-light construction that enhances economy, range and safety.
MINIMIZING DRAG, MAXIMIZING RANGE:
WITNESS STRIKING DESIGN FOR
Excellent aerodynamics are essential for efficient e-mobility. A smooth, fully clad under-body minimizes air vortices under the vehicle while AirCurtains and AeroFlaps improve the aerodynamics of the wheel wells and front wheel sills.
– NATURAL, RENEWABLE
BMW i uses renewable raw materials, such as natural fibers and naturally tanned leather, to create sophisticated interior features. 25% of the plastic used in the BMW i3 Concept interior and 25% of the exterior thermoplastic parts were either recycled or come from renewable sources.
CLEAN ENERGY FEATURES IN OUR VEHICLES
AND IN OUR PROCESSES.
The energy-intensive production of carbon fiber was relocated to Moses Lake, USA, so that it could be powered by clean energy from one of the world's largest hydroelectric power plants: the Grand Coulee Dam.
BMW FACTORIES ALREADY LEAD THE WAY IN SUSTAINABLE
MANUFACTURING. BUT THE BMW i FACTORY WILL GO EVEN FURTHER.
Since 2005, The Dow Jones Sustainability Index has consecutively granted BMW the award of the world's most sustainable premium automobile manufacturer. The upgraded BMW i facility is the first to exceed even BMW's high benchmark.
BMW eDRIVE: OPTIMIZING RANGE
AND ENERGY CONSUMPTION.
At the press of a button, drivers can switch to ECO PRO mode, which increases the driving range by up to 20%. To extend the range even further, the integrated liquid cooling system keeps the battery at its optimal operating temperature at all times. The extremely agile electric motor makes driving a BMW i a truly electrifying driving experience.
THE ORIGIN OF EMISSION-FREE DRIVING?
ELECTRIC POWER FROM EMISSION-FREE
Any genuine approach to sustainability has to consider CO2 emissions produced outside the vehicle. That’s why BMW i is teaming up with clean energy producers worldwide to harness electric power generated from renewable resources.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO RECYCLE
ELECTRIC COMPONENTS? REUSE THEM.
There are many ways to reuse the powerful BMW i Lithium Ion battery pack: a very simple and effective one would be to use it as temporary storage for solar or wind energy.
BMW i NOT ONLY PIONEERS CARBON FIBER
PRODUCTION, WE ALSO TAKE CARE OF ITS
Production residues from carbon production, carbon components and vehicle body parts are valuable materials for the BMW Group. This is why we reuse these materials either by returning them to the production process or using them in other areas.