“The drive system remains the heartbeat of a car, and that also applies to electric vehicles,” said Draeger. “Powertrains also remain a core area of expertise of Bayerische Motoren Werke. Electromobility and the hallmark BMW driving pleasure make an excellent match, if you go about things the right way. For this reason we are developing the powertrain for the Megacity Vehicle in-house – that includes the electric motor, the power electronics and the battery system.”
The electrification of a vehicle requires new concepts in vehicle architecture and body construction in order to exploit the potential of the new emission-free drive system to optimum effect. With the revolutionary LifeDrive concept, the BMW Group engineers are developing the electric car’s architecture from scratch and adapting it to the demands and conditions of future mobility. The goal: to offset the additional weight of an electric vehicle – typically 250 to 350 kilograms. To this end, the BMW Group is focusing on the innovative high-tech material carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP).
The LifeDrive concept consists of two horizontally separated, independent modules. The Drive module integrates the battery, drive system and structural and crash functions into a single construction within the chassis. Its partner, the Life module, consists primarily of a high-strength and extremely lightweight passenger cell made from CFRP. Furthermore, the new vehicle architecture opens the door to totally new production processes which are both simpler and more flexible, and use less energy. The electric car’s lithium-ion batteries pack will have active cooling because BMW engineers learned with the Mini E that air cooling makes keeping the batteries at their optimum temperature range too difficult. The mega-city vehicle, which will be available in 2013, will be powered by a 96-cell lithium-ion power pack, compared with the bank of 5088 laptop batteries.
The BMW Group is also aiming to be the force behind the best drive systems over the years ahead – systems boasting outstanding efficiency, performance and smoothness, even if it is electricity rather than fossil fuels that are converted into propulsion. To this end, the BMW Group is vigorously driving forward the technical development of electric powertrains. The BMW Group’s centre of expertise for electric drive systems brings together development, manufacturing and procurement specialists under one roof. All their efforts are focused on the implementation and typically BMW interpretation of the new generation of drive systems. Ultimately, electric vehicles not only provide a zero-local-emission and low-noise form of propulsion; their ability to deliver a totally new and extremely agile driving experience is also impressive.
The new architecture of the MCV also gives the vehicle designers additional freedom when it comes to creating a new aesthetic for sustainable urban mobility solutions.
The BMW Group
The BMW Group is one of the most successful manufacturers of automobiles and motorcycles in the world with its BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brands. As a global company, the BMW Group operates 24 production facilities in 13 countries and has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.
The BMW Group achieved a global sales volume of approximately 1.29 million automobiles and over 87,000 motorcycles for the 2009 financial year. The pre-tax profit for 2009 was euro 413 million, revenues totalled euro 50.68 billion. At 31 December 2009, the company employed a global workforce of approximately 96,000 associates.
The success of the BMW Group has always been built on long-term thinking and responsible action. The company has therefore established ecological and social sustainability throughout the value chain, comprehensive product responsibility and a clear commitment to conserving resources as an integral part of its strategy. As a result of its efforts, the BMW Group has been ranked industry leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes for the last five years.