Overview: BMW i

The following is a mildly edited version of BMW’s press release about the i3 and i8 concept cars, the principles behind them and the Company’s future plans for cars with alternative drivetrains.

The world, and with it the sphere of personal mobility, is experiencing a period of radical environmental, economic and social change.

A rash of global developments such as climate change, the dwindling availability of resources and increasing urbanisation call for a new balance between the demands of the planet and the desires of the individual. Fresh solutions are required to underpin personal and, most importantly, sustainable mobility. The BMW Group has responded to this situation with the creation of a sub-brand which meets the changing needs of customers: BMW i.

BMW i is about the development of visionary vehicles 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. In so doing, BMW i is also opening up new target groups for BMW and further strengthening the position of its parent company as a sustainable and future-oriented brand.

‘The purpose-oriented and sustainable mobility solutions from BMW i mark the dawn of a new era in personal mobility for the automotive industry.’ — Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Sales and Marketing.

Project i: how BMW i was born

The BMW i brand world comprises vehicles and services developed since 2007 as part of project i, a BMW Group think-tank set up to explore sustainable mobility solutions. Launched under the banner of the corporate strategy Number ONE, Project i was charged with developing sustainable and pioneering mobility concepts. The intention of the initiative was always to generate a transfer of expertise into both the company as a whole and future vehicle projects specifically.

The overriding goal of Project i is to preserve the BMW Group’s position as the leading supplier of premium products and services for personal mobility. To this end, the development engineers involved have always focused their attentions on the entire value chain. After all, it is not only the products of the future that should be sustainable; every parts-related process, every technology and every supplier is required to contribute to the positive sustainability rating of the products.

As part of Project i, the BMW Group is currently conducting field trials in everyday conditions with vehicles running purely on electric power. These trials are unparalleled worldwide in their scope. The ongoing trials in the USA and Europe with a fleet of more than 600 Mini E cars are already delivering important feedback on the demands the series-produced electric vehicles of the future will need to meet. Added to which, a test fleet of over 1000 BMW Active E vehicles — set for launch in the USA, Europe and China at the end of 2011 — will contribute valuable insights into the performance of these models in everyday use.

The information gained will serve to deepen the existing knowledge base on the everyday use of vehicles with electric drive systems and to find out more about what customers want and need. Feedback from the customers trialling the Mini E and BMW Active E is channelled directly into the series development of the BMW i vehicles.

Two special vehicle concepts

The BMW i brand is now poised to enter the consciousness of the automotive public with two new vehicles.

The first is the BMW i3 Concept. Previously known as the Megacity Vehicle, the BMW Group’s first series-produced all-electric car focuses on the mobility challenges of the future in urban areas and, as the first premium electric vehicle, reinvents hallmark BMW attributes for the drivers of the future.

BMW i3 Concept.

Then comes the BMW i8 Concept, a sports car of the most contemporary variety: forward-looking, intelligent and innovative. Based on the BMW Vision Efficient Dynamics concept car, its plug-in hybrid solution brings together a combustion engine and an electric drive system to create an extraordinary driving experience complemented by extremely low fuel consumption and emissions.

The BMW i3 Concept is a sustainable vehicle designed for urban areas. Driven purely by electric power and purpose-built to meet the demands of sustainable and emission-free mobility, it embodies an intelligent form of urban transportation and commuting.

Central to its design is the innovative Life Drive architecture, the key to the BMW i3 Concept’s appeal as a light, safe and spacious car. Innovative use of materials and intelligent lightweight design not only enable the i3 Concept to travel long distances on a single charge and provide superb safety in the event of a collision, they also help give the car its excellent driving dynamics. The secure arrangement of the battery in the drive module gives the vehicle a very low centre of gravity and optimum weight distribution. The electric motor over the rear axle generates 170PS and 250Nm virtually from a standstill. The i3 Concept accelerates from 0 to 60km/h (37 mph) in under four seconds and from rest to 100km/h in less than eight seconds. The extremely direct sensation at the wheel is expressed in outstanding agility at low speeds and during turning manoeuvres, and makes parking in tricky situations that much easier.

The ‘life module’ conjures up a feeling of space inside the car. The materials chosen lend the cabin a lounge-like character. The use of renewable raw materials is another defining characteristic of the interior, offering passengers a further means of ‘experiencing’ the sustainability of the vehicle. Elements of the instrument panel and door panelling are visibly made from natural fibres, while the naturally tanned leather of the seats creates a lounge-style ambience. Together, these materials provide an appealing contrast to the clear, ‘floating’ forms of the instrument panel and door elements, and lend the interior a strikingly modern feel. There is no centre tunnel running through the passenger compartment. This allows the two front and two rear seats to be connected with each other by a continuous seat surface, which allows for ease of entry and exit via the front passenger side of the car and means you can park up close to walls, for example. With four seats, wide-opening opposing coach doors, a boot capacity of around 200l [less than a contemporary supermini — Ed.] and an additional functional compartment in the front, the BMW i3 Concept is equipped for the demands of everyday use.

BMW i8 Concept.

With Eco Pro mode activated, all the vehicle functions operate with maximum efficiency. For example, the accelerator mapping is tweaked to limit the output summoned when the driver flexes his right foot, and the climate control functions also use as little energy as possible. Added to which, sophisticated aerodynamics and slim, low rolling resistance tyres maximise its range.

Connectivity functions create a seamless connection between the BMW i3 Concept and its customers’ lives outside the car. Remote functions accessible through a smartphone enable owners to find their vehicles, flag up nearby charging stations, allow battery charging and preconditioning and supply information on the current status of the vehicle. Meanwhile, intelligent assistance systems ease the stress on drivers in monotonous city driving situations and allow them to arrive at their destination more safely and in a more relaxed state of mind.

The BMW i8 Concept and the approach that underpins it embody the vision of a sustainable contemporary sports car. Its plug-in hybrid concept combines the electric drive system from the BMW i3 Concept — in this case fitted over the front axle — with a three-cylinder combustion engine producing 220PS and 300Nm at the rear.

The electric motor in the BMW i8 Concept can power the car on its own if required or in tandem with the petrol engine. Acceleration from 0 to 100km/h in under five seconds combined with fuel consumption in the European cycle of under three litres per 100 kilometres (roughly 94mpg) and average customer fuel consumption of between five and seven litres per 100 kilometres (40mpg-56mpg) even when driven hard are figures currently beyond the capability of any vehicle powered by a combustion engine of comparable performance. Thanks to its large lithium-ion battery, which can be charged from a domestic power supply, the BMW i8 Concept can travel up to 20 miles on electric power alone. The car’s electric-only mode allows it to enter emissions-capped central areas of cities with access restrictions in place for petrol- or diesel-powered vehicles.

The i8 Concept’s efficiency rating is further enhanced by its ability to generate energy at both axles. The electric motor at the front axle recoups maximum energy every time the driver brakes, while a high-voltage alternator hooked up to the combustion engine charges the battery, if required.

A series of air inlets allow the air to flow through and around the vehicle to optimum effect, ensuring extremely low drag. Airflow plays an extremely important role at the rear of the vehicle as well. Intakes behind the passenger cell and at the rear provide a cooling flow of air through the engine compartment, while outlets in the rear diffuser and the flow of air around the rear wheels ensure the car is extremely efficient in terms of lift and downforce at both axles.

The motor in the front axle module and combustion engine at the rear are connected by an ‘energy tunnel’, which houses the high-voltage battery. This gives the car a low centre of gravity. The positioning of the electric motor and engine over their respective axles and the space-saving and well-balanced packaging of all components result in an optimum 50/50 weight distribution.

The weight of every component inside the BMW i8 Concept has been minimised, allowing the extra weight of the electric drive system and battery to be cancelled out. The passengers sit in typical sports car style in an extremely low and enclosed position inside the CFRP-constructed Life module (mounted above the Drive module).

The driver’s three-dimensional displays flash up the relevant information for the driving situation at hand. The interior as a whole is defined by the functionality of a classical BMW sports car and majors on lightness and ease of use.

An additional range of mobility services — which can also be used independently of the cars — will be an integral component of BMW i alongside the vehicles themselves. This should allow the creation of a new, profitable area of business over the long term and attract new customers to the company’s brands. A totally new development in this area will be vehicle-independent mobility services. These will allow BMW i to offer bespoke mobility solutions representing a perfect combination of premium vehicles and premium services. The focus is on solutions which will improve usage of existing parking spaces, as well as intelligent navigation systems with local information, intermodal route planning and premium car-sharing. In addition to service packages developed in-house, the BMW Group is pursuing cooperations with partner companies as well as strategic capital investments with providers of mobility services. BMW i Ventures was established with this purpose in mind. The company aims to expand the product portfolio of BMW i over the long term with stakes in highly innovative service providers, such as MyCityWay and ParkatmyHouse.

The construction of electric vehicles has, up to now, been based on the ‘conversion’ approach. This involves integrating electric components into vehicles originally designed to be powered by a combustion engine, as in the case of the Mini E and BMW Active E test cars. However, this form of automotive electrification involves making complex modifications throughout the vehicle and therefore increasing its weight considerably. That is because the electric drive components place totally different demands on a vehicle when it comes to installation space and cannot be integrated into the vehicle without adding weight and compromising interior and boot space. Conversion cars thus do not represent the best long-term response to the challenge of e-mobility. The BMW Group engineers took a different approach, focusing on the eventual usage of the BMW i vehicles in developing the Life Drive concept. This new vehicle architecture meets the full range of technical requirements of an electric drive system (including a large battery), while keeping weight low, maximising range, creating generous levels of space, enabling supreme driving characteristics, and ensuring impressive safety for the battery and passengers alike.

BMW i8 Concept.

In contrast to vehicles with a self-supporting body, the Life Drive concept essentially comprises two separate, independent functional units. The drive module integrates the vehicle’s suspension, battery, drive system, and structural and crash functions into a construction made chiefly from aluminium. Its partner, the life module, consists primarily of a high-strength and extremely lightweight passenger cell made from carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP). The use of this high-tech material across large sections of the car ensures that the life module is remarkably light and, in so doing, helps to achieve both impressive range and improved performance. Added to which, the car’s handling is also much enhanced, and the functional connection between the drive module and the torsionally rigid life module lends it a very distinctive dynamic character. The use of CFRP on this scale is unprecedented. Indeed, with the creation of its Life Drive architecture the BMW Group has taken lightweight design, vehicle architecture and crash safety into a whole new dimension. By avoiding the need for modifications to accommodate the electric drive components, the Life Drive architecture ensures the car is no heavier than a conversion vehicle of similar size. Intelligent lightweight design and the innovative use of materials allows the Life Drive architecture to cancel out all the extra weight added by giving the car an electric drive train rather than a comparable combustion engine.

Another special feature of the BMW i3 Concept and BMW i8 Concept are their wheels, which are noticeably larger and narrower than those of their class rivals. Slimmer tyres generate far less drag and rolling resistance, reduce unsprung masses and, in so doing, use less energy.

Equally as important as the vehicle architecture’s benefits in terms of mas and handling is its performance in crash tests. Here again, the combination of the aluminium in the drive module and the life module’s CFRP passenger cell demonstrates just how well lightweight design and safety can go together. Like the cockpit of a Formula One car, the CFRP passenger cell provides an extremely strong survival area. Pole impacts, side-on collisions and rollover tests highlight the impressive safety-enhancing properties of this extraordinarily robust material. While metal constructions require the addition of large energy absorption zones, special deformation elements in the CFRP structure allow large amounts of energy to be absorbed in a small area. Despite the heavy and sometimes concentrated forces, the material barely sustains a dent. Together, the high-strength CFRP passenger cell and intelligent distribution of forces through the Life Drive module lay the foundations for optimum protection for the car’s occupants and battery alike.

The Life Drive architecture of the BMW i3 Concept

Both the BMW i3 Concept and the BMW i8 Concept have been designed around the innovative LifeDrive architecture. However, the geometric implementation of the concept differs in the two models, having been adapted to suit their different usages. The BMW i3 Concept features a horizontal-split variant of the Life Drive concept optimised to accommodate the car’s electric drive system. Here, the drive module provides the solid foundations for the life cell, which is simply mounted on top. The driving element of the drive module’s functional design is the battery, which is made as large as possible to give the car better range. Bearing in mind the size of the BMW i3 Concept’s battery, the most space-efficient place to store it was in the car’s underfloor section. There, it occupies the whole of the module’s central section, giving the car optimum weight distribution and a low centre of gravity, enhancing its dynamics. The battery is penned in by aluminium profiles, which protect it from external impacts. Crash-active structures in front and behind it provide the necessary energy absorption in the event of a front- or rear-end collision. The electric drive system is, as a whole, much more compact than a comparable combustion engine, accommodating the electric motor, gear assembly and drive electronics within a small volume over the driven rear axle. The BMW i3 Concept therefore features the optimum Life Drive architecture configuration for a purely electric vehicle.

The spacious life module of the BMW i3 Concept allows the vehicle’s interior to boast a totally new design. The integration of all the drive components within the drive module removes the need for a centre tunnel, through which power would previously have been transferred to the rear wheels. The BMW i3 Concept therefore offers significantly more interior space than other vehicles with the same wheelbase and — through solutions such as a full-width seat bench — also allows the interior to be adapted extremely effectively to the needs of urban mobility. Added to which, a pair of opposing doors and the omission of B-pillars provide a large entry area for passengers. Up front, underneath what would normally be the bonnet, the life module gives the BMW i3 Concept a separate luggage area with space for the charging cable and other items passengers would rather not carry in the passenger compartment.

The Life Drive architecture of the BMW i8 Concept

The BMW i8 Concept sees the Life Drive architecture concept adapted to suit the vehicle’s sports car character. This interpretation of the Life Drive concept takes its cues from the hybrid concept of the BMW i8 Concept, which links up an electric drive system at the front axle with a combustion engine over the rear wheels.

In a departure from the purely horizontal configuration favoured for the BMW i3 Concept, the Life Drive architecture of its BMW i8 Concept sibling also features vertical layering in the front axle module, passenger cell and rear axle module. The drive systems powering the BMW i8 Concept are integrated into the front and rear axle modules, with the CFRP life module providing the bridge between the two. As a plug-in hybrid, the BMW i8 Concept is not designed purely for all-electric propulsion, and therefore carries fewer battery cells than the BMW i3 Concept. These are stored in the life module inside an energy tunnel, a structure similar to a central transmission tunnel. The front and rear axle modules therefore combine with the passenger cell and battery to form a functional unit, which adopts not only load-bearing responsibilities but also extensive crash functions. The location of the high-voltage battery in the energy tunnel gives the vehicle a low centre of gravity, and this enhances its dynamics. Together with the positioning of the motor and engine over the axles, the result is optimum 50/50 weight distribution. Lightweight design and the innovative use of materials produce extremely low unsprung and rotating masses.

The BMW i8 Concept’s axles are designed to deliver optimum handling properties, in keeping with the car’s sporting profile. The multi-link front axle provides the ideal geometric platform for an extremely flat and aerodynamically efficient silhouette. The front axle construction is also designed explicitly to handle the twin demands of the steering and drive system. It eliminates any drive forces which may otherwise affect the steering, ensuring optimum handling in every situation.

In the CFRP life module passengers sit low down and enclosed between the motor and engine. Between them runs the energy tunnel that bisects the interior. Swivelling doors fixed to the A-pillars provide large openings that allow access to both front and rear seats.

Systematic lightweight design is a particularly important element of electrically-powered vehicles. An electric drive system adds up to 200kg compared with a combustion engine and full tank of fuel. And high vehicle weight is a major factor in restricting how far an electric car can travel on a single charge. As well as increasing such a vehicle’s range, lower vehicle mass is also a ticket to noticeably improved performance. After all, a lightweight vehicle accelerates faster and is more agile through corners. In addition, lower accelerated mass means that energy-absorbing crash structures can be scaled back, and that, in turn, saves weight. The aim of the development engineers was therefore to achieve the electrification/hybridisation of the vehicles without adding weight. Alongside the innovative Life Drive architecture, other aspects central to the BMW Group’s success in cancelling out the extra mass of the electric components were systematic lightweight design and the innovative use of materials.

The various components within a vehicle’s structure have to deal with an extremely wide range of demands, which can only be addressed to full effect by a variety of construction methods. For each component, the BMW Group engineers therefore select the material to fit its usage profile and the demands placed on it, so that battery mass is no longer an issue. Designing the components specifically for their particular purpose ensures the vehicles work as well and weigh as little as possible.

CFRP plays a major role in reducing weight. The extensive use of this material — for example, in the life module of the BMW i3 Concept and BMW i8 Concept — is unprecedented in volume vehicle production. CFRP is at least as strong as steel, but roughly 50 per cent. lighter. By comparison, aluminium would save ‘only’ 30 per cent. in mass over steel. All of which makes CFRP the lightest material available for vehicle body construction without compromising safety.

As well as ‘conventional’ CFRP components made from resinated carbon fibre weave, in some areas the BMW i8 Concept also contains specially woven CFRP structures known as ‘braided profiles’. Here, CFRP preforms are woven like a sock over a mould. This allows much greater design freedom, and fewer joints are required. Flush-fitting connections also make the profiles extremely strong. The braided profiles are therefore used in areas such as the door sills, doors and A-pillars in which greater strength is required, not least in the event of a collision. The special manufacturing process involved makes it extremely easy to optimise wall thickness (by adjusting the diameter of the mould). Much more complex forms can also be achieved without bonding or the use of connecting pieces and, most importantly, produce far fewer waste cuttings. Lower material usage also reduces the energy requirement.

BMW i stands for a new concept in sustainable mobility and a new approach to vehicle drive system design. The BMW i3 Concept and the BMW i8 Concept, with their highly innovative and efficient drive systems, demonstrate how future mobility can be both sustainable and dynamic. The BMW i3 Concept and BMW i8 Concept are two entirely different vehicles, and this is reflected in their different drive concepts. In both cases the design and configuration of the drive systems are dictated by the individual character of the vehicle and its intended area of application. While the BMW i3 Concept is an all-electric vehicle and therefore optimally equipped for operation around town, the plug-in hybrid BMW i8 Concept combines its electric motor with an internal combustion engine to deliver a high level of performance. The common link between the two vehicles is their electric motor, which marks a move away from exclusive reliance on an internal combustion engine. These cars are ‘born electric’, and define a whole new concept in drive technology in their segment.

The electric motor of the BMW i3 Concept is designed primarily for operation in an urban environment. Already tested in a pre-production version in the BMW Active E, the version of this permanently excited hybrid synchronous motor which will be used in the BMW i3 Concept has undergone further optimisation in terms of weight and driveability. It develops 170PS and 250Nm. Typically of an electric motor, maximum torque is developed virtually from standstill. The BMW i3 Concept accomplishes 0-60km/h in under four seconds and 0-100km/h in under eight seconds. At the same time, the torque is delivered over a very large rpm range. The single-speed accelerates the BMW i3 Concept to an electronically-governed 93mph. The speed governor cuts in at this point in the interests of efficiency: going even faster would result in very high energy consumption, which would unnecessarily restrict the driving range. The motor is located directly above the drive axle, for optimal and typical BMW rear-wheel-drive handling characteristics.

But instantaneous response is not the only distinctive aspect about the driving experience in the BMW i3 Concept. Another is the dual accelerator/decelerator function of the accelerator pedal. After the driver eases up on the accelerator, the electric motor acts as a generator, converting the kinetic energy into electricity which is then fed back into the battery. Energy recuperation generates a braking effect which makes a significant contribution to vehicle deceleration. Around town, approximately 75 per cent. of all braking operations can be performed without using the brake pedal at all. Intensive use of this energy recuperation function of the electric motor can increase the driving range by up to 20 per cent. Only when the driver’s braking demands exceed a given level is the conventional brake system of the BMW i3 Concept engaged as well.

A coasting facility makes this unique ‘single-pedal control’ of acceleration and braking using just the accelerator even more user-friendly. The BMW i3 Concept features a distinct ‘neutral’ position of the accelerator pedal — rather than switching straight to recuperation when the driver eases off the pedal, the electric motor’s zero torque control keeps the drive train disconnected as long as the pedal is in this position. The vehicle now coasts without consuming power, driven by its own kinetic energy. Used as part of a proactive driving style, this coasting mode is a very user-friendly way of increasing the driving range even further.

The electric motor of the BMW i3 Concept not only offers attractive driveability, it also has a very high power-to-size ratio. This is partly explained by the fact that electric motors typically achieve over 90 per cent. energy efficiency. This means that a smaller electric motor can produce the same power output as a larger internal combustion engine. Due to its compact size, the electric motor used in the BMW i3 Concept can be optimally integrated into the vehicle architecture.

The permanently excited hybrid synchronous electric motor and the power electronics of the BMW i3 Concept were developed entirely in-house, and boast very high efficiency, optimised power delivery and compact design. The space requirements of the electric motor used in the BMW i3 Concept have been reduced by 40 per cent. compared with the motor used in the Mini E. This compact drive unit is mounted over the rear axle, together with the power electronics, transmission and differential, causing no loss of interior space.

The power needed to drive the vehicle and to operate all other vehicle functions is supplied by lithium-ion battery cells. The BMW i3 Concept’s battery system has been developed to reduce the extent to which external factors can influence the vehicle’s power and driving range. An integrated liquid cooling system keeps the battery at its optimal operating temperature at all times, which helps to significantly boost the performance and life expectancy of the cells. The climate/heating system cools the fluid circulating in the battery housing via a heat exchanger.

In winter, this fluid can also be heated in order to bring the battery up to its optimal operating temperature of around 20 degrees Celsius. These precautions ensure that power and torque remain constant throughout most of the battery’s charge range and make the system significantly less sensitive to external temperatures.

The battery can be fully recharged in six hours at a standard power socket. If a high-speed charger is used, an 80 per cent. charge can be achieved in one hour.

As the Mini E field tests showed, a driving range of 120km to 150km (74 to 93 miles) was sufficient to meet 90 per cent. of the mobility requirements of the pilot users. However, some customers want a longer driving range, or want their vehicle to be as flexible as possible. The BMW i3 Concept therefore offers an optional range extender, the REx, which allows the electric driving range to be increased. REx, a small, very smooth-running and quiet petrol engine, drives a generator which maintains the battery charge level and therefore extends the range of the electric motor. As soon as the battery charge reaches a critical (low) level, REx supplies the necessary energy to get the driver the rest of the way to his destination. In a sense, therefore, the range extender is like having a reserve fuel can on board.

The very compact size of the electric motor used in the BMW i3 Concept means there is room left over to accommodate REx and its attached generator over the rear axle, alongside the drive components. The petrol engine complies with the SULEV standard, currently the strictest emissions standard for internal combustion engines. To reduce fuel consumption to a minimum, REx also features such functions as automatic start-stop and other intelligent operating strategies.

Whereas the BMW i3 Concept always drives on electric power, the i8 Concept combines the advantages of two different drive systems — an electric motor and an internal combustion engine. As a plug-in hybrid it offers the best of both worlds, combining maximum efficiency with maximum performance. An acceleration time to 100km/h of under five seconds, combined with fuel consumption in the European test cycle of less than 3l/100 km (roughly 94mpg) and average real fuel consumption of between five and seven litres (40mpg-56mpg) even with a fast driving style are figures unrivalled by any conventional internal combustion-engined vehicle in this power class. Depending on charging habits and the nature of the route, it is even possible to improve on these figures. The secret is the intelligent configuration of the two drive units. In the BMW i8 Concept, the electric motor is not a secondary power source but an equal partner of the internal combustion engine. In this way the BMW i8 Concept achieves a new, ideal balance between the two drive units which results in an optimal combination of efficiency and dynamism.

The electric motor has been adopted from the BMW i3 Concept and modified for use in the BMW i8 Concept’s hybrid power-train. It drives the front axle, while a 220PS turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine developing up to 300Nm drives the rear axle. Together, the two drive units take the vehicle to a governed top speed of 155mph. Like the electric motor, the 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine was developed entirely in-house by the BMW Group and represents the latest state of the art in conventional engine design. The pairing of these two drive units in the BMW i8 Concept reflects the outstanding expertise of the BMW Group in the development of both engines and electric motors.

The energy supplied by the application-designed battery system installed between the front and rear axle modules to the electric motor at the front axle gives the BMW i8 Concept an all-electric driving range of approximately 20 miles. The battery can be fully recharged in two hours at a standard power socket. The electric motor of the BMW i3 Concept has been modified for use in the plug-in hybrid power-train of the BMW i8 Concept: i.e., for operation with a smaller battery-pack and in conjunction with an internal combustion engine.

A highlight of the BMW i8 Concept is the high-voltage generator attached to the internal combustion engine, through which the internal combustion engine can generate power for recharging the batteries. This is only used to increase the range of the vehicle while out on the road, and is not intended as a substitute for stationary recharging at an electric power socket.

Although the BMW i8 Concept has all-electric capability, the big attraction of this vehicle lies in the combination of the two different propulsion systems. The BMW i8 Concept combines the high-torque responsiveness of an electric motor with the power of an internal combustion engine, a field in which BMW has specialised for many decades. The BMW i8 Concept makes the most of the specific advantages of the two propulsion systems, which complement and support each other perfectly. The two power sources dovetail smoothly to compensate for any loss of power during gear changes. The combined result is that the BMW i8 Concept provides very dynamic acceleration performance across the entire road speed range.

All four wheels of the BMW i8 Concept can be driven at the same time. When accelerating on dry roads, for example, maximum traction is available at all four wheels, resulting in better driving dynamics and driving enjoyment even when pushing the vehicle hard. In winter, too, the two separately driven axles provide benefits, the four intelligently driven wheels making for enhanced safety on slippery roads and keeping the vehicle moving under almost all winter conditions.

The fact that the electric motor is located at the front axle of the BMW i8 Concept optimises braking energy recuperation, since the front axle is where greater braking forces are developed due to the dynamic wheel-load shift when decelerating. Whenever there is a chance to recuperate braking energy, intelligent driving dynamics systems make the most of it, taking into account traction conditions and driving situation, without compromising stability and dynamics. This allows very high levels of braking energy recuperation even in the wet or in snow. Depending on requirements, braking is initially provided by the recuperation function and only when more powerful braking is required is the conventional brake system engaged.


The task for the designers was to develop a unique design language for BMW i which would reflect the new sub-brand’s claims and values and include scope for expansion, but which would also maintain a strong link to its parent brand. The aim was to create an authentic visual representation of innovative technology and to translate values such as lightness, safety and efficiency into the BMW i3 Concept and BMW i8 Concept models. These basic values are expressed in the design of the vehicles through features including large transparent surfaces and a light-bathed interior, a powerful stance and aerodynamic additions such as contact surfaces, spoiler lips and elements allowing air through-flow. The BMW i3 Concept and BMW i8 Concept also blend in their own interpretation of familiar BMW design features, cementing a clear link to the BMW parent brand.

The aerodynamically optimised ‘stream flow’ represents one of the most striking design themes of the BMW i vehicles. Like the Hofmeister kink favoured by its parent brand, this new C-pillar treatment can be viewed as a signature styling cue. Two horizontal lines converge from above and below — like streaks of air in the wind-tunnel — into a dynamic C-pillar sweep, lending visual form to the efficient aerodynamics of the BMW i vehicles.

The most defining element of the BMW i models is their purpose-built basic construction, the Life Drive architecture. Within this concept, the CFRP Life module houses the passenger compartment, while the drive module brings together all the operational driving functions. This distinctive two-way split is also reflected in the design of the cars. The modules are partly covered by side panels, but remain clearly distinguishable. Expressive surfaces and precise lines form a harmonious transition between the two. This overlap and interlocking of surfaces and lines — ‘layering’ in BMW i speak — marks out the exterior and interior design of both vehicles. The striking interplay of lines and surfaces highlights the linking together of the individual structures and their arrangement within the framework of the Life Drive architecture. Added to which, the different functions of the layers are colour-coded. The silver external panelling makes up the outward-facing level, while the black function layer of the exterior contains the windows, basic structure and supporting elements. In between, surfaces in bright Stream Blue — the colour used for the BMW i logo — lend high-quality touches. The various levels are set apart from each other clearly, the lower layers also performing certain functions, such as air channelling. The perceptible difference in height between the layers lends the exterior an extremely dynamic, three-dimensional appearance.

The life modules of both concept cars come across as bright and open thanks to their large, transparent surfaces. This high degree of transparency imbues them with an airy feel and — together with the generous portions of exposed CFRP on display — reflect the lightness and efficiency of both vehicles. A transparent roof opens both vehicles to the sky and generates a very open driving feeling. This reveals the intricate CFRP structure of the roof, adding further emphasis to the lightweight design concept of the two vehicles. The generously-sized glass surfaces give an optimum view out of the cars and allow the passengers inside to experience the outside world while on the move. At the same time, admirers on the outside can also see clearly into the cars, effectively turning their interior into part of the exterior design.

Aerodynamics are an important element of efficient mobility. The importance of aerodynamics is reflected in the two models’ exterior design. The ‘stream flow’ — the striking transition of the greenhouse into the C-pillar — is a nod to the vehicles’ efficient aerodynamics and imbues the side view of the cars with an extra dose of dynamism. The aerodynamic form of the stream flow on the BMW i8 Concept significantly improves its aerodynamic efficiency; integrated into the BMW i3 Concept it improves all-round visibility. Meanwhile, the underbody of the two vehicles is totally enclosed and has a smooth surface. Moving further back, the structures above the tail lights and the large air outlets underline the reduction in drag achieved over the vehicle as a whole. Another stand-out feature of the BMW i vehicles is the conspicuously large and relatively narrow wheels. In addition to significantly lower drag, these wheels also give the cars a very solid and dynamic appearance. Other aerodynamic elements include the Air Curtains, which ensure optimum air flow around the wheel arches, and the aeroflaps in the door sill area behind the front wheels. Both solutions reduce the cars’ drag substantially.

As with the exterior, the design principle of layering — the interplay of powerfully expressive surfaces across several levels, defined by precise lines — is also at work in the interior. The interior consists of three different levels, which allow a range of functions to operate and shape the way in which they do so. The three layers have different colours to indicate which functions they accommodate. The layering concept from the car’s outer skin therefore continues inside and highlights the shared design elements of the interior and exterior. The outer level — the white layer — forms the supporting structure for all interior geometries. The elements it contains give the impression of almost being folded, exude a feeling of lightness and yet are very strong. The inner layer is the function-oriented level and opens up features such as seat surfaces and storage areas. The instrument panel includes an additional black level between the inner and outer layer, which incorporates the technical components. This technical layer runs through the whole front section of the interior and also creates a visual link between the instrument panel, steering column and steering wheel (including instrument cluster), central information display (CID) and controls. Positioned here are features including the openings for the air vents, while the displays and radio/climate control panel also develop out of this layer.

A notable feature of the BMW i3 Concept interior is the visible use, for the first time, of renewable and naturally treated raw materials. This allows the vehicle to express the brand’s claim to sustainability throughout its value chain in stylistic terms. The BMW i3 Concept sets new benchmarks in the use of sustainable materials. In addition to the extensive use of natural fibres in the floor pan and naturally tanned leather, 25 per cent. of the weight of the interior plastic is accounted for by recycled or renewable raw materials.

BMW i and sustainability.

This process had its beginnings in Project i. Employees working for this think tank play an enabling role in the BMW Group’s development of new technologies and processes designed to provide sustainable mobility and to ensure sustainability throughout the value chain. This research work has resulted in an all-electric vehicle based on an innovative architecture, new materials and a completely new production process. This vehicle is the BMW i3 Megacity Vehicle. In their quest for a completely sustainable process, the BMW Group specialists began by looking at the entire vehicle life cycle. They quickly identified potential for reducing environmental impacts and went on to define concrete targets, as a benchmark for measuring and monitoring progress. In the subsequent vehicle development process, these sustainability targets were given the same priority as cost and weight targets. This is the first time a vehicle project of the BMW Group has implemented such an approach so radically, so extensively and so systematically.

The BMW i3 Concept proves beyond doubt how successfully these sustainability targets were achieved. The life cycle global warming potential (CO2e) of the BMW i3 Concept, assuming a European electricity mix (EU 25), is at least a third lower than for a highly efficient combustion-engined vehicle in the same segment. If the vehicle is powered by renewable electricity, the improvement increases to well over 50 per cent.

In addition to global warming potential, other environmental impact categories have been taken into account as well. This is reflected in a large number of innovative measures relating to the development, production and recycling stage. Some of these solutions were developed by suppliers. In this way BMW i is setting new standards of sustainability across the entire value chain.

With its innovative LifeDrive architecture and extensive use of intelligent lightweight design, the BMW i3 Concept is specifically targeted at electric mobility. This purpose-built design, which compensates for the weight penalty of an electric power train, also features innovative use of CFRP (carbon-fibre reinforced plastic). The weight savings ensure an extended driving range and even more efficient zero-emission electric operation.

The BMW i3 Concept has a high recycled material content. Twenty-five per cent. of the interior plastics by weight have been replaced by recycled and renewable materials, as have 25 per cent. by weight of the exterior thermoplastic components, while the CFRP used in the life module consists of 10 per cent. recycled material. The use of recycled CFRP in this form is currently unique.

The BMW Group has for a long time been investing huge efforts in developing a sustainable production system. The aim is to reduce the environmental impact of the production process to an absolute minimum. The criteria against which progress is monitored include energy and water consumption, process wastewater, solvent emissions and waste sent to landfill — in each case calculated per vehicle produced. At the same time the BMW Group also monitors CO2e emissions arising from energy consumption. The goal is to reduce resources consumption and emissions per vehicle produced by 30 per cent. over 2006 levels by 2012.

However, in the production of its BMW i vehicles the company will be going even further. Compared with the current figures for the BMW Group production network, which has been the benchmark in the entire automotive industry on sustainability for a number of years, the future production plant for BMW i vehicles — Leipzig — will achieve additional 70 per cent. savings on water consumption and 50 per cent. savings on energy consumption per vehicle produced. All of the energy used in production of the BMW i will be renewable.

A further opportunity for reducing global warming across the entire product lifecycle is through a focused purchasing strategy for the lightweight materials — aluminium and CFRP — which, due to the BMW i’s Life Drive concept, account for a much bigger proportion of the total materials used compared with a conventional vehicle. Recycled aluminium, also known as secondary aluminium, and aluminium produced from 100 per cent. renewable energy, offer big opportunities for reducing CO2e emissions. By using renewable energy, CO2e emissions per kilogram of aluminium produced can be reduced by 50 per cent. compared with a conventional manufacturing process, while the savings from using secondary aluminium are as high as 80 per cent. Wherever possible, therefore, the standard castings for the BMW i3 Concept contain 100 per cent. secondary aluminium, while for high-strength structural components and crash management components, 50 per cent. low-emission recycled content is used. A total of more than 80 per cent. of the aluminium used in the BMW i3 Concept is produced either using renewable energy or from secondary material.

In CFRP manufacturing, too, BMW i always uses the most eco-friendly processes. The CFRP produced by our joint venture partner at the Moses Lake plant (USA) is made using electricity generated entirely from renewable hydroelectric power.

High standards are also set for the supply chain. BMW i suppliers must demonstrate that their business practices are sustainable and their internal operations must comply with the social and environmental sustainability standards of the BMW Group. Suppliers who perform outsourced development work must also integrate recycling into the product development process.

All BMW i processes conform to the principles of closed-loop material recycling and waste avoidance. Looking at the product lifecycle in its entirety, examples of recycling include use of recycled process wastewater in the production process, use of secondary aluminium and use of recycled fabric in CFRP production. End-to-end recycling saves resources and conserves raw materials for future use. Another priority for the development team is to ensure that all structures and processes are designed to facilitate component reuse and material and energy recycling.

Just like the environmental and economic aspects of sustainability, the social aspects too were taken into account at an early stage in product development and design. Here BMW i is building on the existing high standards of the BMW Group and is systematically reinforcing its commitment to three key issues: responsibility for employees today and in the future, commitment to ethical standards in the supply chain, and social responsibility. Important aspects here include curtailing noise exposure and reducing stress through improved workplace design, for example through natural lighting on the assembly line, along with a structured health management policy that takes into account demographic change in the production workforce, provision of special health and fitness programmes and development of retirement models.

BMW i3 Concept.

BMW i stands for a new approach to premium mobility. This mobility concept is geared to the demands of the future and to the needs of users, and it systematically addresses these challenges today. It does this firstly through the vehicles themselves, with their innovative architecture, sustainable value chain and innovative drive concepts. At the same time, pioneering driver assistance systems in these vehicles also provide a new dimension in safety and comfort, while application-based remote functions allow the vehicle to be accessed via a smartphone, for example to allow remote charging or remote thermal preconditioning of the battery pack.

As well as the vehicles themselves, BMW i also stands for comprehensive and custom-designed mobility services which can optimise personal mobility even for customers who do not own their own vehicle. These mobility services focus, for example, on solutions that make more efficient use of existing parking space, intelligent navigation systems that can also offer location-based information, an Intermodal Route Planning service and the Drive Now premium car-sharing service. What all these services have in common is that they are designed to help users reach their destination sooner, more reliably and more conveniently. To this end, BMW i offers an integrated range of services which can be implemented individually and with immediate effect.

Driver assistance systems

A new generation of vehicles calls for a new generation of driver assistance systems. Proactive Front Protection, offered in both vehicles, is an active safety system which helps to prevent accidents or mitigate injuries. The system, which operates across the entire speed range, can detect a collision risk with preceding vehicles and warns the driver in good time, so that he can reduce his speed and, if possible, avoid an accident. A camera mounted in the base of the rear-view mirror monitors the traffic in front of the vehicle. If, based on the combined data supplied by the camera and by the vehicle, the system detects a collision risk, the vehicle warns the driver by means of visual and audible signals. At the same time the brake system is primed, so that the brakes can respond more quickly and more positively. In the speed range from 0 to 60km/h (37mph), the system functionality has been extended: in addition to vehicles, the system can now also detect pedestrians, and in addition to warning the driver it also assists by performing automatic emergency braking.

Since the BMW i3 Concept is designed mainly for urban operation, the vehicle offers two further driver assistance systems that address typical urban traffic situations. The Parking Assistant performs the entire parking manoeuvre automatically. In addition to the familiar functions of the Parking Assistant systems of today, which simply handle the steering, the Parking Assistant in the i3 also handles longitudinal vehicle control. Acceleration and braking are now performed automatically, and if multiple manoeuvres are required, the vehicle can also automatically switch between forward and reverse direction.

Particularly in megacities, traffic jams and congestion are now an everyday fact of life. The Traffic Jam Assistant makes driving less stressful under monotonous conditions of this type. By letting the vehicle ‘go with the flow’, it allows the driver to get to his destination in a more relaxed state of mind. Like Active Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go function, Traffic Jam Assistant maintains a specified following distance from the vehicle in front, and in particularly heavy traffic can autonomously control the speed of the vehicle right down to a standstill. The difference, however, is that in this case the vehicle also provides active steering input. Advanced camera technology allows the vehicle to follow the road, based on the road markings, helping the driver to stay on course right up to a speed of 40km/h (25mph), provided he keeps at least one hand on the steering wheel.

The BMW i remote functions

For a long time now, thanks to the growth in mobile devices, access to the digital world has no longer been confined just to a home-based computer but has extended to ever more locations, both static and mobile. Courtesy of Connected Drive and the application-based in-car integration of mobile devices via Mini Connected and BMW Apps, digital access is also firmly establishing itself in the vehicle itself. While BMW Group vehicles already provide in-car digital access, this is also a two-way process, since the seamless integration of smartphones or tablets also allows certain vehicle functions to be controlled from outside the vehicle. Using a smartphone, for example, Connected Drive offers remote vehicle locking or unlocking and remote horn or headlight activation in order to locate the vehicle if it is within sight or earshot of the driver. It also allows the vehicle to be located within a range of up to 1500m using the Car Finder function. In addition, navigation destinations provided by Google Local Search can be sent to the vehicle, where they are then available for on-board use.

In addition to the familiar Connected Drive remote functions, the BMW i3 Concept and the BMW i8 Concept also offer new features designed specially for electric vehicles. These specific e-vehicle functions include remote-controlled charging and remote-controlled thermal preconditioning of the battery pack and vehicle interior. Remote-controlled charging allows the user to remote-start the charging process at a time that can be controlled by setting the journey start time. The remote-controlled charging function also allows the user to check the battery charge status at any time and see whether the vehicle is currently being charged, what charge level has already been achieved, how far the vehicle could be driven on the current charge level, or on a fully charged battery pack, and also the remaining time until the battery pack is fully charged.

Assuming that the user has an appropriate contract with his electricity provider, it is also possible to select the type of electricity used, ranging from the greenest to the cheapest type of power.

Intelligent thermal preconditioning allows the driver to preheat or cool both the battery pack and the vehicle interior before the start of the journey. There are two advantages to starting the journey with a preconditioned vehicle. First, ensuring that the battery pack is at its optimal operating temperature right from the start maximises battery power and driving range, and secondly the driver can enjoy pleasant temperatures in the interior right from the start of the journey, both in summer and in winter. Thermal preconditioning can either be started in real time or, alternatively, the driver can program the system in advance by entering the journey start time using the timer function. The software then calculates when to start the process in order to maximise the driving range at the outset of the journey. If the vehicle is plugged in while preconditioning is taking place, the energy will be taken not from the battery but from the grid, which further extends the range. Both the charging and the thermal preconditioning functions, as well as being remote-controlled, can also be activated and controlled manually from inside the vehicle.

In addition, a spidergram can be superimposed on the local map to show the user how far he can drive based on the current battery charge level. A marked area indicates which destinations the driver would be able to reach if he practises a conservative driving style. At any time, therefore, the driver can easily estimate how much driving range he still has in reserve. The driver can also display the nearest charging stations which are not currently occupied, and can at the same time book an ‘appointment’. The address can then be loaded straight into the vehicle’s navigation system.

Eco Pro mode

In both the BMW i3 Concept and the BMW i8 Concept, Eco Pro mode allows the driver to increase the electric driving range of the vehicle and reduce power consumption at the press of a button. Activating the switch on the centre console changes the drive settings and those of the convenience systems for even more efficient operation. Eco Pro mode changes the accelerator response characteristics so that the same pedal travel delivers less power than in the standard mode. The BMW i3 Concept can also cap the top speed at anywhere between 120km/h and 90km/h (74mph and 56mph). At the same time the response curves of the heating and air conditioning system are flattened when Eco Pro mode is activated, so that these systems consume less energy. Using Eco Pro mode in the BMW i3 Concept can increase the electric driving range by as much as 20 per cent.

Eco Pro + mode

If, due to unforeseen circumstances such as a prolonged traffic hold-up, the electric driving range is shortened to the point where the driver can no longer be sure of reaching his destination, Eco Pro + mode engages a drive mode which is geared specifically to maximising the driving range. The main electrically powered convenience functions such as the air conditioning and heating systems are as far as possible deactivated, and auxiliary power consumers such as the heated seats and heated mirrors, or non-essential components of the daytime running lights are shut down altogether. However, the systems continue running with minimal functionality, so that safety inside and outside the vehicle is in no way compromised. For example, the window demisting function remains operational to maintain clear visibility in winter. Eco Pro + mode also activates a further alteration in the drive characteristics, which are changed to an even less dynamic setting, and in addition limits the top speed to 90km/h, though a special override function can deactivate the speed limiter in an emergency. In these various ways, Eco Pro + mode ensures that all the energy in the battery is used for driving the vehicle.

Proactive energy management in the BMW i8 Concept

Intelligent navigation functions ensure optimal energy management in the BMW i8 Concept, thereby helping to reduce fuel consumption. As soon as a destination is entered in the navigation system, the vehicle calculates the best way to manage the energy consumption of the two power units along the route. On different sections of the route, the vehicle characteristics can then be modified so that the drive units are managed either for maximum efficiency or for optimal performance.

Navigation by BMW i

The two navigation modes — Last Mile Navigation and Intermodal Route Planning — are designed particularly with urban environments in mind. Last Mile Navigation continues to navigate the driver even after he gets out of the vehicle, by sending instructions to his smartphone which will direct him on the ‘last lap’, for example, from the car park to the museum entrance. And when the driver is ready to head back, he can quickly locate his parked vehicle using the Car Finder function.

For drivers looking to use their vehicle in conjunction with public transport, Intermodal Route Planning summarises the various options of getting to a given destination. The aim is to integrate, and utilise the synergies between, the different modes of transport. This BMW Group system integrates the vehicle, the different modes of local public transport and information about current parking availability. If, for example, the city centre is very busy or closed to car traffic, or if there is disruption on the planned route, the navigation system will in future be able to propose an alternative route by public transport, including use of park and ride services. When entering a destination, drivers can also choose between the fastest or the most environmentally friendly way of getting there. When using electric drive, the Intermodal Route Planning service can also take into account charging stations along the way and also offers drivers the option of taking a route which will optimise the vehicle’s driving range.

A big advantage of the Intermodal Route Planning service is that it provides very situation-specific navigation which can also be modified at any time if the user’s requirements change. For example, in the event of an unforeseen incident on the chosen route, the parameters can simply be changed and the user will instantly receive an alternative suggestion. This option ensures that drivers are not caught out by congestion or road closures.

BMW i mobility services

People’s mobility needs and their personal mobility habits are changing. Congestion, lack of parking, high parking charges, unreliable public transport and a lack of knowledge about unfamiliar towns and cities are an increasing obstacle to mobility. At the same time, there is a demand for mobility solutions which are customised, flexible, always available and above all uncomplicated.

BMW i is addressing these changing mobility requirements systematically and on various levels. In addition to the vehicles themselves, a further important component of BMW i will be mobility services, which can also include car-independent services. With these services, BMW i will extend the existing range of vehicle-related Connected Drive services significantly. All BMW i products and services are aimed at facilitating and wherever possible simplifying mobility. With its customised mobility solutions, BMW i sees itself as a ‘mobility enabler’. The focus is on solutions for more efficient use of existing parking space, intelligent navigation systems incorporating location-based information, Intermodal Route Planning and premium car-sharing. BMW i’s integrated approach to mobility is aimed at providing customers with services that perfectly match their requirements.

Nowadays, not everybody in the world’s major urban centres still wants to own their own vehicle, particularly if they are only going to use it occasionally. The state-of-the-art mobility service Drive Now, a free-floating car-sharing system, is aimed precisely at this market. The special highlight of this service is that vehicles do not have to be picked up from and returned to specific locations but can be hired and left wherever the customer wishes. This clearly differentiates Drive Now from competitor products.

Starting in June 2011, the Drive Now joint venture between the BMW Group and Sixt AG is offering a state-of-the-art mobility service, initially in Munich, whose key features include high-efficiency premium vehicles and an extensive range of services. While BMW supplies the premium vehicles, Sixt provides premium services allowing extremely flexible on-demand vehicle hire and return.

Customers can check vehicle availability either on the internet, via a smartphone app or simply when passing by on the street. Vehicles can either be hired on the spot, without booking, or can be booked via the internet or a smartphone app.

Conventional car keys are not required either, since the DriveNow vehicles can be unlocked by means of a chip inserted in the driver’s licence and started using a starter button.

During the initial phase, the Drive Now fleet will offer a variety of BMW 1-series and Mini models. In future, electric vehicles will also join the fleet. To cater for users’ specific preferences, as well as free use of public city centre parking, Drive Now also offers free parking spaces at selected multistorey car parks.

Drive Now is also aimed at non-BMW customers. Drive Now gives these customers the chance to drive a BMW 1-series or Mini model without first having to buy one. This will make the BMW and Mini brands more accessible and will introduce more people to these vehicles. In the same way, of course, Drive Now allows existing BMW or Mini customers to continue driving a BMW Group vehicle even when their own vehicle is not currently available, for example if they are in another city and have left their car at home. Car-sharing also helps to reduce the time spent searching for parking spaces and in addition is an alternative to ownership of little-used, elderly and inefficient vehicles.

Following Munich, further major European cities will get this service later in the year. In the longer term, there are also plans to extend this car-sharing service to other continents as well.

BMW i Ventures

In addition to developing and offering its own services, the BMW Group also provides services in partnership with other companies and makes strategic investments in mobility service providers. This task is now being handled by the venture capital company BMW i Ventures, which was established in early 2011 in New York. BMW i Ventures’ mission is to extend the BMW i product portfolio over the longer term by making equity investments in various cutting-edge service providers. As an investor, BMW i can provide backing for new, promising start-up companies, ensuring that development work on high-potential innovations continues and that these developments can eventually be put to use.

This is also a useful enrichment for the BMW Group’s own innovation capacity. The first investment by BMW i Ventures was in the New York-based company My City Way. As a mobile app, My City Way provides users with information on public transport, parking availability and local entertainment for over 50 cities in the USA, Canada, Europe and Asia. The list of cities will continue to grow in the course of the global market rollout.

The second investment by BMW i Ventures was in ‘Park at my House’, an internet platform which allows private individuals to rent out their driveway or private parking space on an occasional or permanent basis. By allowing the general public to use private parking spaces, this flexible parking management service reduces the pressure on on-street parking. Finding and renting a nearby parking space, using the internet or a smartphone app, is simplicity itself.

With its car-independent mobility services and systematic promotion of innovation, BMW has paved the way for a comprehensive and innovative mobility experience. And it doesn’t stop there: at the same time the BMW Group is also working to intelligently integrate these various services. The underlying idea is to pool the information from all the different services and make it available in the most suitable form for the various target groups. For example, My City Way information for tourists visiting an unfamiliar city could be combined with a vehicle provided by Drive Now. Users could then, say, be offered a customised city tour, possibly already uploaded into the navigation system, focusing on specific areas of interest like art, history or architecture. This could be further integrated with parking information from Connected Drive and Park at my House so that the user could quickly find the best parking space for their vehicle.

BMW i3 Concept
Length 3845
Width 2011
Height 1537
Kerb mass 1250
Seats 4
Luggage space 200l
PS 170
Nm 250
Maximum speed 93
0-100km/h 7.9
80km/h-120km/h 6.0
Electric range
— estimated
— FTP 72 cycle

Battery charge time
— fast charge

6h to 100%
1hr to 80%
BMW i8 Concept
Length 4632
Width 1955
Height 1280
Wheelbase 2800
Kerb mass 1480
Seats 2+2
Luggage space 150l
— system
— petrol engine
— electric motor

— system
— petrol engine
— electric motor

Maximum speed 155
0-100km/h 4.6
80km/h-120km/h 4.0
Electric range (estimated) 20
Battery charge time (standard) 1.75hr to 100%
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