BMW AG (Bayerische Motoren Werke AG) is among the world’s biggest producers of cars, motorcycles and engines, based in Munich (Bavaria, Germany). The company was established in 1916. Nowadays it is also the owner of the Mini and Rolls-Royce brands.
BMW and its special-purpose Institute for Mobility Research have been trying to offer innovative solutions in the following fields: BMW i project is an initiative aimed at the development of electric cars, self-driving and other features of a future vehicle; traffic management and traffic technologies.
From 1995 to 2010 BMW Group managed to decrease the amount of CO2, which make vehicles it produces, by 30%. The company is eager to lower this amount by additional 25% by 2020. Moreover, the company’s Leipzig-based productive facility is going to become more resources and energy effective by using 70% less water and 50% less electricity per item. 100% of the energy will come from renewables.
BMW i project and series
Global changes such as climate alternation, decrease of resources and growing urbanization result in the rise of people’s social responsibility and wish to make their lives more sustainable and environmentally friendly. This social request is valid for the mobility sphere as well and makes companies develop more sustainable mobility solutions.
BMW Group believes that battery and fuel cell transport is the future of our society so in 2007 the company launched BMW i project in order to develop its own future mobility solutions.
In November 2008 BMW Group first presented its debut demo EV model MINI E at Los Angeles Motor Show. Demo model BMW ActiveE, released a year later, was the next one. in 2011 first customers received the EVs for testing to give the necessary feedback. Some time later BMW Group registered BMW i brand, and already in 2013 it offered its first BMW i3 concept under the brand.
BMW eDrive powertrain
The electric drivetrain BMW eDrive comprises an agile electric engine by BMW, and innovative li-ion battery and a smart engine management system. The electric motor’s full torque is already available from a standstill, facilitating uninterrupted acceleration to top speed. The battery and the motor management system are optimized to increase performance and vehicle range.
BMW LifeDrive designer concept
All BMW vehicles feature the LifeDrive design which has specially been created for EV. As opposed to the so-called “conversion” approach, with which the electric components are integrated into a vehicle and which was originally conceived for use with a combustion engine, the LifeDrive concept comprises two separate and independently operating functional units. The eDrive technology, the suspension as well as structural and crash functions are integrated into the “Drive” module made predominantly from aluminium. The “Life” module, however, consists mainly of a high-strength, very light passenger compartment made from carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP). The concept allows to increase significantly vehicle range and performance.
Self-driving feature by BMW
In spring 2016 the company released a concept of a fully autonomous EV, BMW iNEXT which arrival is planned for 2021. A source with BMW said the vehicle will feature the steering wheel and control pedals so could be also driven manually.
BMW has already showed off some of its self-driving features in its i3 concept, which can park itself. The BMW 7 series also already comes with driver assistance features like lane keeping assist and side collision protection.