BMW M GmbH begins concept testing for all-electric cars, Autos BMW M

MUNICH: BMW M GmbH announced last week it has started the first test drives of a so-called concept test vehicle for innovative drive and chassis control systems.

A multidisciplinary team of developers is now putting to test the hardware and software solutions designed for future fully electric high-performance cars.

The concept testing focuses on a four-wheel drive system comprising four electric motors and an integrated driving dynamics control system.

Exactly 50 years after its foundation, BMW M GmbH is in the midst of a transformation process towards electric mobility.

The anniversary year has already seen the market launch of the all-electric i4 M50 performance car and the iX M60. The i7 M70, the first BMW M automobile based on the 7 Series luxury sedan, is to follow as early as next year.

The test vehicle is based on the i4 M50 with a modified body. Wheel arches have been widened to permit the integration of specifically manufactured high-performance front and rear axle designs.

The front end of the vehicle features an adapted body strut concept taken from the M3/ M4 series for particularly high torsional rigidity in extremely dynamic driving situations. The arrangement of the radiator units is also based on the configuration developed for the current high-performance sports cars.

The core of the revolutionary high-performance drive system now making its debut on the road in the test vehicle is an electric M xDrive four-wheel drive system with four electric motors.

BMW said the fact that all four wheels are each driven by an electric motor opens up completely new possibilities for infinitely variable, extremely precise and fast distribution of drive torque.

Within milliseconds, the power and torque of the spontaneously reacting electric motors can be dosed so precisely that the load demand signalled via the accelerator pedal can be realised at a level of dynamics that is unattainable using conventional drive systems.

This means that the driver is able to experience entirely new performance characteristics even under extremely demanding conditions such as in highly dynamic situations or adverse road conditions.

The four motors are connected to a central, highly integrated control unit that permanently monitors the driving condition and the driver’s input.

The ideal power transmission to the road is calculated within milliseconds from the values for the accelerator pedal position, steering angle, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, wheel speeds and other parameters.

The signals for this are transmitted just as quickly and directly via a multi-plate clutch and differentials to the four motors, which are able to implement them immediately and precisely.

The high-performance character of the new drive system is also evident in the recuperation of braking energy. Right up to the limits of driving dynamics, the four motors can assume the function of a generator when braking before a bend, for example, and feed electricity back into the high-voltage battery.

BMW M chief Franciscus van Meel revealed that an XM model, its first high-performance car featuring a V8 M hybrid drive, would start production before the end of the year.

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