Ahead of the Frankfurt Auto Show starting 14 September, BMW is drumming up buzz for a completely new concept car, the Vision EfficientDynamics. BMW today released a video (over the fold) promising all the sporty driving fun of the BMW M3 in a plug-in full hybrid with a completely new look.
BMW Senior Vice President Jan-Christiaan Koenders says this "demonstrates that we are planning to be a leader in sustainability, and this mostly by doing it the typical BMW way, namely with passion." But is it hype or hope for a hungry automotive industry?
Video: YouTube, BMW
The Exciting Look of EfficientDynamics
Like every concept car, this one makes your blood tingle and your lead-foot twitch. The blank-sheet approach to aerodynamics shows in every nook and cranny. In particular, the side view mirrors are set high and seem to flow from the car as if BMW left the body on the seashore in a brisk ocean breeze and allowed the wind to shape them. In profile, the car is set low to the ground and dominated by the shark-fin wheels, which appears as though they could cut through the air as a fish through water.
Fast and Fuel Efficient
The Vision EfficientDynamics Concept Car targets a top speed of 250km/hr (155mph), an important attribute in Germany, where all attempts to legally limit top highway speeds in the few remaining stretches of wide-open autobahn are continuously quashed. The 3 cylinder turbodiesel engine should sip only 3.7L/100km (almost 64 mpg) -- a completely achievable goal by a European car company, where a perfect storm of legal mandates and popular demand have long forced the automotive industry into leadership on fuel efficiency (at least, under official test conditions if not under M3 performance conditions). The two electric motors can be recharged by the engine as well as fully charged in about 2.5 hours plugged-in.
According to the BMW press release, the Vision promises:
- Overall system output is 262 kW/356 hp, maximum torque 800 Newton-metres/590 lb-ft. All-wheel drive featuring an electric motor on both the front and rear axle.
- Anticipated performance: Acceleration from a standstill to 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds, top speed 250 km/h (155 mph)
- As a plug-in hybrid, BMW Vision EfficientDynamics is able to cover the entire fuel consumption drive cycle under electric power alone. Taking the sources of energy used for generating the electric power consumed into account (EU electricity mix), this reduces the CO2 emission rating to just 50 grams per kilometer.
- Electric power is generated without the slightest increase in fuel consumption through a particularly efficient concept of Brake Energy Regeneration. Energy is stored in 98 lithium polymer cells.
- Aerodynamics developed with know-how from Formula 1. CX drag coefficient optimised to just 0.22. Forward-looking energy management uses the maximum potential available in each case to minimise fuel consumption.
To Sustain or Not to Sustain
Like every concept car, most features envisioned will never see the light of a QC inspection at the end of a production line. So one asks oneself: if BMW is dreaming anyways, why dream small? Yet one specification screams from the page: we are not all that serious about sustainability -- contrary to Mr. Koenders assertions. "The car is able to cover a distance of approximately 50 km/31 miles in the electric mode alone."
50 kilometers? 31 miles? Are they kidding? Even if the industry learns from the incredibly efficient battery regeneration, the disappearing coefficient of drag or BMW's passionately designed drive-train, how can BMW step into the ring with a vision of 50 kilometer/31 miles range?
BMW Hybrids You Will See Soon
The Vision EfficientDynamics concept car will join the production versions of the BMW X6 ActiveHybrid and 7 Series ActiveHybrid in Frankfurt. The X6 applies the dual-mode technology developed in partnership with GM, Chrysler, and Daimler while the 7-er features BMW's in-house lithium battery design. There are currently no plans to bring the Vision EfficientDynamics to production, but look for the X6 and 7-series ActiveHybrid technology at a dealer near you starting through end 2009 and spring 2010.
More Video of Vision EfficientDynamics:
For the hard-core eye candy addicts:
More on BMW Vision EfficientDynamics and ActiveHybrid
BMW Press Release
Green Car Congress
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German Engineers Join Hybrid Game
BMW Considering Launching EV by 2012?
The BMW Hydrogen 7: "Paving The Way Into the Future"
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BMW X6 Hybrid SUV Caught on Spy Camera