BMW’s next concept shows the way to local emissions free mobility.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- Dec. 16, 2009
BMW ActiveE Concept.
The BMW ActiveE Concept provides a taste of an all-electrically powered BMW. Focused on practical use, the concept is based on the BMW 1 Series Coupe and embodies the agility and driving characteristics of the 1 Series for the first time as part of a locally emissions-free concept.
With the world premiere of the ActiveE at the 2010 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, BMW is highlighting the continuation of its research and development activities in the field of electro-mobility. The field tests with the MINI E as part of project i in the US and Europe have provided important insights into the demands required of future production battery electric vehicles (BEVs). As a second step, project i has begun development of a second trial of electric vehicles based on the ActiveE.
These vehicles are intended for everyday use by private and select fleet customers as part of a large-scale field test. The insights gathered in the process will be fed into the development of serial produced BEVs which the BMW will place on the market under a sub-brand of BMW in the first half of the next decade. Could this be a Mini One-Series
The ActiveE allows BMW to explore new vehicle packaging solutions and components which will be crucial to the success of the Megacity Concept Vehicle. The intelligent integration of drive components within the BMW 1 Series Coupe’s existing vehicle package offers the opportunity to provide four full-size seats and a luggage compartment with a capacity of approximately 7 cu ft. The motor, specially developed for the model and located in the rear axle, delivers 170 HP and provides maximum torque of 184 lb-ft. It accelerates the vehicle from 0 to 60 in approx. 8.5 seconds with a maximum speed electronically limited at approximately 90 mph.
The electric drive system draws its energy from a new, advanced Li-Ion battery pack developed jointly by BMW and the co-operation partner SB LiMotive especially for the ActiveE. The pack allows an all-electric range (AER) of approximately 100 miles.
An intelligent battery management system helps achieve this range largely independently of external climatic conditions. Additionally, the charging period required for the Li-Ion pack is short. On the European power grid, the battery pack can be fully charged in just 3 hours at an outlet current of 50 amps at 230/240 volts. In North America, using a high current, 32 amp continuous 220V residential wall outlet, the charge time is about 4.5 hours.
Innovative technology for sheer driving pleasure without CO2 emissions.
The ActiveE embodies a whole new dimension of BEV mobility. The high torque of the electric drive system, along with the rear-wheel drive which is a hallmark of BMW, guarantees the characteristic driving experience which typifies each and every BMW - but now without any local CO2 emissions. An impressive range of functions are additional features of this concept which defines electro-mobility in BMW style.
BMW attaches key importance to electro-mobility in the development of future vehicle concepts and drive systems as part of its EfficientDynamics strategy. In the medium term, BMW is developing innovative vehicle concepts for local emissions-free mobility in urban areas.
Electric drive: emissions-free, powerful and compact.
The ActiveE was created based on ongoing development in the powertrain. The latest outcome is a new synchronous electric motor tailored to the BMW BEV.
Unlike asynchronous electric motors, the new power unit provides a relatively high level of torque even at higher engine and road speeds; at increased load the torque is not reduced abruptly but decreases gradually. The torque curve at higher engine speeds is therefore much more similar to a standard internal combustion engine.
Regenerative Braking increases total range.
In the all-electric ActiveE, the driver may control deceleration as well as acceleration through the movement of the accelerator pedal.
As soon as the driver’s foot is removed from the accelerator, the electric motor converts to a generator, converting the vehicle's kinetic energy into electric power and storing it in the Li-Ion pack. Excessive implementation of regenerative braking is unfortunately being touted by BMW as increasing range by up to 20% when in reality, limited use of braking function is where the real range gains occur.
At the same time, brake torque is created which results in effective deceleration of the vehicle. This response enables a very comfortable driving style, especially at medium and constantly varying speeds. In urban traffic, up to 75 percent of all deceleration scenarios are initiated without the need for the brake pedal. During regenerative braking, the vehicle’s brake lights are illuminated.
This brake effect acts on the rear wheels only. When the driver requires a higher level of deceleration, stepping on the brake pedal engages the conventional hydraulic braking system. If an emergency braking maneuver is required during braking, the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system applies selective braking and motor management measures to ensure that safe braking is always guaranteed.
The brake system is fitted with an electric vacuum pump which is activated on demand. Along with the Electric Power Steering (EPS) from the production models of the BMW 1 Series, these features contribute to an increase in the overall efficiency of the vehicle.
Innovative Li-Ion battery pack with its own liquid cooling.
The Li-Ion battery pack was specially developed for this vehicle.
The high-voltage battery unit offers a particularly high storage capacity and durability. For the first time, storage cells are used which were developed for use in this automobiles by BMW in collaboration with its battery pack partner, SB LiMotive. Powerful battery cells are the key to designing production BEVs. Through the collaboration of BMW and a joint venture between Bosch and Samsung SDI [SB LiMotive] whose expertise in the area of battery technology and electro-mobility has been put to good use within the ActiveE.
Li-Ion technology has demonstrated its high storage capacity and deep-cycle resistance for well over a decade now. The technological expertise of SB LiMotive ensures that the Li-Ion properties are retained even while placed under the extreme conditions of automobile use in terms of durability, endurance and safety.
The Li-Ion batteries have their own liquid cooling system and intelligent battery management system, which are key to increasing both the storage capacity and the longevity of the battery cells. These systems also ensure that the range can be maintained largely independent of external climatic conditions. The Li-Ion battery developed for the ActiveE enables a real-world range of approximately 100 miles on a single charge with an off-beat FTP72 cycle range calculated to be 150 miles in simulation.
Modular structure, compact construction, space-saving integration.
Another special feature of the Li-Ion battery pack is its compactness, despite its output and capacity. The arrangement of battery cells, grouped into several modules, is ideal in terms of packaging, functionality and vehicle balance. The battery pack is located where a combustion engine and fuel tank would normally be located. The largest portion of the battery pack in the ActiveE is located where the conventional RWD shaft and fuel tank would be in the lower section of the vehicle. In addition, a portion of the battery pack is located where the combustion engine would normally reside. Using intelligent lightweight design and the highly-efficient Li-Ion battery cells, vehicle curb weight is limited to approximately 3900 lbs.
Characteristic BMW driving experience, space of a BMW 1 Series Coupe.
The positioning of the battery pack shifts the vehicle’s center of gravity downwards. Also, the battery cell layout within the vehicle preserves the near an ideal 50/50 weight distribution characteristic of all BMW vehicles.
In this respect, the ActiveE offers ideal conditions for enhanced control and agility.
In terms of the interior space, the ActiveE matches the standard BMW 1 Series Coupe with a conventional internal combustion engine. It offers four full-size seats with the exact same head, leg and shoulder room.
The optimum positioning of the power electronics above the motor integrated in the rear axle results in a reduction of trunk capacity. Nonetheless, the ActiveE still has a luggage compartment which provides considerable versatility in everyday use. With a volume of approx. 7 cu ft, it exceeds the trunk capacity of the BMW 1 Series Convertible with an open top and can hold two golf bags, for example.
Reliable and safe: power electronics control and monitor vehicle functions.
The power electronics of the ActiveE regulate the supply of electrical current to the motor at the required amperage and voltage.
It also controls the supply of energy to the vehicle power network. By means of a voltage transformer and an intelligent battery management system, a reliable supply of power to all functions is ensured, including the comfort and entertainment features familiar from the production model of the BMW 1 Series. Drive components, energy supply, and battery pack comply with the integral safety standards for electric vehicles as defined by BMW.
Central monitoring functions integrated both in the power electronics and battery pack ensure the continuous monitoring of all components.
The driver is also immediately informed of malfunctions and if necessary there is an automatic system discharge and shutdown.
Modern charging technology: fresh energy both swiftly and flexibly.
The headlong drive to serial production of BEVs also includes innovative solutions for flexible, user-friendly charging of the energy storage systems in the vehicle. The Li-Ion battery pack of the ActiveE can be recharged using a range of different power sources. This means that the vehicle is not dependent on a specific charging station and energy of varying power levels can be fed into the battery pack according to availability.
Any conversion required is taken care of by the high-performance battery control system. This gives the driver considerably greater flexibility in using the vehicle.
In addition to using a high amperage outlet – a supply system installed in the user's home optimized to reduce charging times– it is also possible to use conventional power outlets or publicly accessible charging stations made available in co-operation with energy suppliers. In this way, stopovers can be used to extend the travel range of the vehicle when needed.
The Li-Ion batteries of the ActiveE set a new benchmark for energy storage systems in BEVs. Regardless of the voltage and amperage available, they build up a remarkably high capacity over a short period of time. On the European power grid, the battery pack can be fully charged in just 3 hours. In North America, the charge time can be completed in as little as 4.5 hours.
Innovative comfort features: auxiliary heating and auxiliary air conditioning complete with remote control.
In conjunction with the powerful Li-Ion battery technology, the concept of a BEV presents additional opportunities for the integration of innovative features. For the ActiveE, a special all-electric heating and air conditioning system was developed which is supplied with energy from the high-voltage battery via the vehicle power network. The fact that the heating system and air conditioning compressor are electrically powered means that the desired temperature can be provided inside the vehicle even when it is stationary. The driver can heat or cool the interior before a trip using the auxiliary heating or air conditioning system – an option which is available when the vehicle is connected to a charging station and the battery is fully charged. This ensures that the range is not reduced by the comfort function, but in fact increased. The reason for this is that the energy required for heating or cooling the vehicle with an existing connection to the power supply does not need to be drawn from the battery during travel.
The air conditioning systems developed for the BMW Concept ActiveE can also be activated via mobile phone. This option also includes a timer function so the driver can ensure that the vehicle is conveniently pre-cooled or pre-heated before getting into it in the morning, for example. Climatic pre-conditioning optimizes not only ride comfort but also the operating status of the energy storage system in the sense that it maximizes the range of the vehicle.
The control of the heating and air conditioning system by mobile phone is made available through BMW ConnectedDrive. The ActiveE demonstrates the extensive range of options for using these services with the full integration of a Smartphone connection into the vehicle infotainment system.
Specific remote control functions via BMW ConnectedDrive
In addition to the intelligent remote controlled operation of the auxiliary heating and air conditioning, BMW ConnectedDrive offers additional services specially developed for the ActiveE. The main focus here is on the user-friendly and practically oriented relay of precise information on the condition of the vehicle. No matter how far he or she is from the vehicle, the driver can obtain details of the charge status of the Li-Ion battery and the range of travel this permits. The remote control functions also provide support in searching for a nearby public charging station.
The configuration of the remote control functions is specifically oriented to use scenarios arising in everyday traffic. For example, the driver can go shopping or eat at a restaurant while the vehicle is supplied with electrical current at a charging station. Within a very short time the driver can obtain information on the current charge status of the batteries by mobile phone.
The driver can also determine how much charging time is required for the batteries to achieve sufficient energy capacity for the trip home, thus allowing other activities to be planned. Providing sufficient charge is available, the driver can also activate the heating and air conditioning during an excursion when the battery is fully charged and the vehicle is connected to the power supply. In this way a pleasant temperature can be generated inside the car within just a few minutes and in good time before setting off.
Additional trips can also be conveniently prepared using the innovative remote control functions. For example, the driver can check the charge status of the vehicle batteries and the currently available travel range while at his workplace or sitting in a cafι. This makes it quick and convenient to find out whether an additional trip can be made before driving home before the energy supply runs out. The driver gains additional flexibility in being able to search for public charging stations in the vicinity of any given location. Based on the information relayed to the mobile phone, he can quickly determine whether a spontaneously planned stopover can be used to charge the vehicle batteries.
Design: unmistakably a BMW 1 Series Coupe, clearly a very special concept.
The technology of the ActiveE is highlighted through unique design features. The ActiveE is unmistakably based on the BMW 1 Series Coupe, well-known for its outstanding agility and efficiency.
The lettering “ActiveE”, “eDrive” and “Efficient Dynamics” are displayed proudly on the doors and side panels. The following elements also reflect the special character of this electrically powered vehicle: a blue illuminated charging connection behind a translucent filler cap, a glowing blue roof fin and kidney rods finished in blue. Blue rings on the tires also make for a visual enlargement of the 18-inch wheel rims.
BMW ActiveE Concept – Interior and Displays
In the interior, individual details of the study are all functionally associated with the electric drive. Among other things, the interior of the BMW Concept ActiveE has special leather seats with embossed graphic elements and blue contrasting stitching. The instrument panel and door trim panels have strips in Liquid White. The decor strip in the instrument panel is finished with a three-dimensional rear-lit ActiveE graphic. The blue illuminated start/stop button and the selector lever knob emblem in White/Blue round off the overall graphic concept. What is more, the instrument panel and the central display have been enhanced to monitor the electric drive.
Instead of the tachometer there is a battery capacity display in the instrument panel. The current charge status of the battery pack is shown in percent. There is also a second instrument which shows how much current is being drawn from the battery as well as the amount of energy being fed back into the battery from regeneration braking.
In addition to the familiar features, the central information display also has a battery level indicator, an active system status display function and the positions of the nearest electric charging stations.
In the luggage compartment, an illuminated plexiglass screen provides a view of the power electronics of the electrical drivetrain. The charge cable is housed conveniently in an additional storage compartment between the left-hand wheel arch and the power electronics.
A future-oriented technology which runs across all brands: electro-mobility as a mainstay of EfficientDynamics.
With the ActiveE, BMW demonstrates its full backing of the project i R&D activities geared towards achieving locally emissions-free mobility independent of fossil fuels.
For the first time, the concept of a purely electrically powered vehicle is combined with the characteristics of a BMW 1 Series Coupe.
BMW is developing electro-mobility as an additional central mainstay of its EfficientDynamics strategy. Electric drive provides an additional option for individual mobility, alongside the ongoing optimization of the internal combustion engine, the market launch of the BMW ActiveHybrid technology in production vehicles and the BMW Hydrogen 7 provides some evidence of the suitability of hydrogen drive for everyday use.
Project i brings together the BMW Group’s activities relating to the development of production vehicles with electric drive. The focus is to fulfill the requirements of a sustainable mobility solution for urban areas, with one option being a purely BEV.
With project i, BMW is carrying out a unique worldwide field test in the use of BEVs in everyday traffic. The MINI E, of which some 600 were produced, is currently being used by private customers in the states of California, New York and New Jersey as well as at several European locations. This pilot project aims to gather important insights into user behavior, the requirements of the vehicle concept, its specifically electric components and the energy supply infrastructure.
The ActiveE creates a basis for the expansion and intensification of this field testing on electro-mobility, oriented towards enabling large-scale production in the future. The aim is to produce a fleet to a scale which will exceed that of the MINI E.
With its extended range of functions, including four seats, an intelligent arrangement of the ActiveE technology and dynamic qualities provided not least by the rear-wheel drive which is so characteristic of BMW, the concept vehicle reflects a new approach while remaining loyal to the BMW brand. The components of the electric drive system have been designed bearing in mind the requirements of a future Megacity Vehicle so as to advance the development of a production vehicle. The ActiveE moves a little closer towards the future of an individual mobility which will combine driving pleasure with CO2-free travel.