The History Behind BMW's Electro-Mobility - Electric Know How since 1969

by Tim Jones on September 21, 2012, 12:27 pm
The Hstory Behind BMW's Electro-Mobility - Electric Know How since 1969

The electric dream began back in 1969, with an electrified BMW 1602 - a vehicle that was used during the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Over the last 40 years, the BMW Group has continually examined means of putting that dream into wider practice. A variety of prototypes and test set-ups have all provided invaluable experience. One such trial was with the BMW E1, an experimental vehicle which, as early as 1991, displayed many of the features of modern electric vehicles and which was used to explore the benefits and disadvantages of the electric drive in practice.

One of the great advantages of electric mobility is zero tailpipe emissions. Since electric motors use electric current rather than fuel to create propulsion, fully electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids driven in electric mode emit no greenhouse gasses. If the energy to drive the vehicle is obtained from a renewable source, e.g. from wind or hydroelectric power, fully electric vehicles are truly zero-emission.

It was the advent of lithium-ion battery technology in 2004 that allowed the electric drive to become truly viable: the new batteries, already proven in laptop and consumer battery applications, solved the age-old issues of cycle stability and load resistance. Bundled together in series of 100, they were able to provide the currents that electric drive trains require (up to 400 Amps – about 25x the available capacity from a standard household outlet). BMW Group seized the opportunity the new technology presented by initiating project i - a small, dynamic think tank whose task is to develop sustainable mobility solutions for the future needs of the world's drivers. One such initiative was the MINI E, which has been gathering customer experience in test fleets since mid-2009.

First BMW Group Electric Mobility Field Trial MINI E

First BMW Group Electric Mobility Field Trial
With more than 600 MINI E vehicles, the BMW Group launched one of the largest test fleets of electric vehicles in customer hands. In-depth user testing research helped to shape the development of future BMW electric-drive products, as well as provide great insights into everyday life with an EV.

The MINI E is setting new technical standards for e-mobility, with an average driving range of around 100 miles in everyday operation and maximum power of 204 hp – a pioneering step on the road to CO2-neutral performance driving.

BMW ActiveE – 100% Electric. 100% BMW

BMW ActiveE – 100% Electric. 100% BMW. The BMW Electric Mobility Field Trial
The BMW ActiveE, the only car that's both 100% electric and 100% BMW, is giving drivers a glimpse into the future of mobility with a unique field trial in 7 US cities over the next two years.

As a milestone for BMW EfficientDynamics, the BMW ActiveE achieves emission-free mobility without compromising BMW trademark performance. The BMW ActiveE Field Trial is led by a fleet of 700 BMW Electronauts, paving the way for electric mobility for future generations in a car inspired by the athleticism of today's ever-popular 1 Series Coupe. This current field trial will build on the success gained during the launch of the MINI E and lead to the launch of the purpose-built BMW i3 in late 2013.

Incorporating key customer feedback from the MINI E field trial, the BMW ActiveE provides four full-sized seats and trunk capacity of approximately seven cubic-feet. Its synchronous motor develops full torque from a standstill to accelerate from 0–60 mph in under 9 seconds. That's an instantaneous 184 lb-ft of torque with up to 170 hp. Its innovative and high performing lithium-ion batteries power the thrill and excitement of driving the BMW ActiveE. These high voltage units feature large format storage cells equipped with a liquid cooling system. Developed exclusively for the BMW ActiveE, this active thermal management system is capable of maintaining an ideal operating temperature to ensure consistent performance and battery longevity, regardless of exterior temperature.

The BMW ActiveE also incorporates the new BMW ConnectedDrive services developed specifically for electric vehicles. They include smartphone-based functions, via the MyBMWRemote App, giving the ability to remotely check battery status and activate auxiliary heating and air conditioning, locate charging stations, and control the charging process.

Findings from the MINI E and the BMW ActiveE field trials will be integrated into the launch of the BMW i3 and BMW i8 plug-in hybrids under the new sub-brand BMW i, in late 2013. Stay tuned to Bimmerfest.com for the latest i3 and i8 news.

BMW i3 and i8 all electric vehicles coming in 2013


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