A dedication to the development of sustainable mobility for more than 40 years has led to a steady series of successes, with recent exponential gains in progress and performance. The catalyst responsible for this fascinating progress is a commitment to sustainable mobility as proof of the innovative power of the BMW Group.
Electro Know-How Since 1969.
The electric dream began back in 1969, with an electric 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 learnings.
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.
Electro-Mobility comes of age.
However, it was the introduction of lithium-ion battery technology in 2004 that made the electric car a viable mobility option: the new batteries, already proven in laptop and consumer battery applications, solved the age-old issues of cycle stability and load resistance. Assembled in series of 100, they were able to provide the currents that electric drive trains require (up to 400 Amps – about 25 times that of a domestic source). 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 the feedback of customers involved in its field trials since mid-2009.
The Near Future.
BMW will be giving more drivers a glimpse of things to come with a second and larger market test in the summer of 2011 involving the BMW ActiveE. This will generate even more feedback and provide an opportunity to test an early version of the BMW i3 powertrain.
Learnings from the MINI E and BMW ActiveE field trials will be incorporated into the launch of the BMW i3 and BMW i8 plug-in hybrid, under the new subbrand BMW i, in autumn 2013.
This new dawn in sustainable mobility will centre around the high-tech BMW plant in Leipzig, where the BMW i3 will be built.
MINI E – First BMW Group e-Mobility Test Project
The MINI E set new technical standards for e-mobility, with an average driving range of 93 miles in everyday operation and maximum power of 204 hp – a pioneering step on the Project i road to CO2-neutral performance driving.
With more than 600 MINI E models, BMW Group is currently running one of the largest customer field trials of electric vehicles. But it is not just the drivers that BMW Group is working with. In the countries where trials are taking place, the company works closely with local energy producers, universities and governments.
The MINI E is not just about giving customers the opportunity to experience a completely new style of personal mobility, but also about developing the necessary infrastructure with our industry partners. For example, energy companies can now offer customers the option of running their vehicles on "green", renewable electricity. The first results of the trials are very encouraging and clearly show that e-mobility is already fit for everyday use.
The BMW ActiveE concept vehicle was a continuation of the research and development carried out by Project i and was unveiled in December 2009.
Following in the footsteps of the MINI E fleet, BMW Group will start customer field trials of BMW ActiveE vehicles in summer 2011, with a view to gaining more feedback on what customers want from electric vehicles and to test an early version of the BMW i3 powertrain.
The BMW ActiveE provides four full-sized seats and boot capacity of approximately 200 litres, thanks to improved integration of the electric drivetrain components. The specially developed electric motor delivers 125 kW/170 hp and torque of 250 Newton metres. Energy comes from the all-new lithium-ion batteries, which give a range of approximately 100 miles in everyday use (similar to the MINI E, but for a significantly larger vehicle). The electric drive train components are a pre-production test version of those designed for the forthcoming BMW i3.
The BMW ActiveE also incorporates the new BMW ConnectedDrive services developed specifically for electric vehicles. These include smart phone-based functions such as the ability to check battery status, locate the nearest charging station and remotely activate auxiliary heating and air conditioning.