BMW #NEXTGen 2020- The next step towards our future.

BMW #NEXTGen 2020- The next step towards our future.

11.11.2020: The BMW Group is writing the next chapter in the future of mobility – and #NEXTGen 2020 provides the ideal platform on which to present this latest instalment. Following the highly successful inaugural event in 2019, this year’s programme will be staged i

The BMW Group is writing the next chapter in the future of mobility – and #NEXTGen 2020 provides the ideal platform on which to present this latest instalment. Following the highly successful inaugural event in 2019, this year’s programme will be staged in digital formats. In a world that is changing more radically than ever, the BMW Group has set itself the target of continuing to spearhead technological development, set trends and be an instrumental force in shaping the future face of mobility with an attractive product portfolio and its Power of Choice strategy.

At #NEXTGen 2020 the BMW Group will open doors that are normally kept firmly shut. It showcases new technologies and vehicles, while also looking at some very specific examples of what next-generation mobility might – or will – look like. Indeed, as well as presenting highlights from the Research and Innovation Centre (FIZ), #NEXTGen 2020 will host world premieres from the BMW Motorrad and MINI brands. And the event will also take a look at the design of the series-production version of the BMW iNEXT, which will go on sale in late November 2021 badged as the BMW iX.

Oliver Zipse: “The BMW Group is constantly striving to reinvent itself.”

A rapidly approaching future sets the tone for this year’s #NEXTGen 2020. Topic areas such as connectivity, electric drive systems, artificial intelligence, international alliances and BMW’s new Driving Simulation Centre provide an ideal introduction to the BMW Group’s role in this dynamic climate. After all, they each form an established element of the BMW Group’s day-to-day reality and are playing an increasingly important role in the development of current and future vehicles. The BMW Group isn’t just ready for the future – it is helping to actively shape it.

“The BMW Group is constantly striving to reinvent itself – that is a key element of our corporate strategy,” says Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG. “The BMW iX encapsulates this approach in highly concentrated form.”

Production of the BMW iX will begin at BMW Plant Dingolfing in 2021. On the one hand, it amalgamates all the developments, experience and innovations accumulated by BMW in recent years in its capacity as the leading premium provider in the field of electric mobility. But its development also illustrates the crucial role already being played by artificial intelligence (AI). At the current time, the BMW Group employs AI in over 400 applications and in every relevant department of the company, for example in development, sales/marketing and production. It is also used for processing and interpreting large quantities of data. AI forms the basis for automated driving and the most natural in-vehicle operating experience possible.

Another major step along the road to future mobility – automated driving – can only be turned into reality with the aid of technology from a field in which BMW has played a pioneering role since the 1990s: connectivity. BMW already offers over-the-air software upgrades and digital services for many of its models today. The BMW iX now goes one step further as the first premium model to employ 5G mobile technology. A multitude of extremely powerful sensors – ranging from cameras to radar and ultrasonic units – coupled with numerous different antennae, from Bluetooth through to 5G, and assisted by artificial intelligence and Data-Driven Services convert the BMW iX into a high-performance computer on wheels.

The BMW Group’s new Driving Simulation Centre in Munich provides an ideal setting for these activities. The most sophisticated and versatile facility of its type, this 11,400-square-metre facility is home to a total of 14 simulators, including a high-fidelity simulator and a high-dynamic simulator. These allow the experience of driving on the road to be transferred to the lab in more realistic form than ever before.

International alliances open up new avenues.

The BMW Group’s alliances also highlight how determined the company is to forge new paths. For example, the engineering tools used in the past were no longer able to handle the complex requirements of the BMW iX. This was one of the reasons why BMW contacted Epic Games back in 2015 and not long after became the first carmaker to implement a mixed-reality system in vehicle development that had been created entirely using components from the gaming industry. It is based on Unreal Engine 4 from Epic Games.

World premiere for the MINI Vision Urbanaut.

When MINI presents the "MINI Vision Urbanaut" at 14:00 on 17.11.2020 at #NEXTGen , the brand will exclusively unveil its totally new vision of space. There’s something to be excited about.

BMW Motorrad Definition CE 04 revolutionises the scooter segment.

Like the MINI Vision Urbanaut, the second model making its global debut at #NEXTGen 2020 is also designed for purely electric travel. The near-production BMW Motorrad Definition CE 04 scooter has evolved from the BMW Motorrad Concept Link and merges the customer’s analogue and digital worlds under the motto “Plugged to Life”. It offers city commuters a means of transport and communication in one, with many of the innovative elements and details of the BMW Motorrad Concept Link – which was seen as a radical vision for the distant future back in 2017 – set to find their way into series production.

This clearly shows how far electrification of the entire BMW Group model fleet has already progressed. And this is set to continue in the near future. A quarter of all vehicles sold by the BMW Group in Europe in 2021 are expected to have an electrified drive system, with this proportion rising to a third in 2025 and half in 2030. In 2023, BMW Group customers will be able to choose from 25 electrified models, approximately half of which will have an all-electric drive system.

Modern leadership in many different areas.

At #NEXTGen 2020, the company is also exploring a variety of projects that demonstrate the meaning of leadership today. A collaboration with streetware label Kith in New York, for instance, allows BMW M GmbH to detect the latest trends in a young and influential fashion scene. The Electrified Wingsuit by BMW i represents a leap into a new dimension in every sense. With the support of BMW i and BMW Group company Designworks, Austrian Peter Salzmann used it to make the first ever flight by a human wearing an electrically powered wingsuit. These are just two examples of how the BMW Group is setting trends, picking up on new developments and anticipating what customers want.
Electric drive system .

BMW Group covers the entire process chain for electric driving .

BMW has been the leading premium provider in the field of electric mobility for many years now and has made a name for itself with innovative vehicle concepts, such as the BMW i3 and BMW i8. The company employs state-of-the-art production methods and facilities across the board in order to offer the customer a well-balanced product range whose drive systems – in keeping with the Power of Choice approach – fit in exactly with their preferences and needs. To further strengthen its leading position, the BMW Group is forging ahead with the expansion of electric mobility and its model portfolio.

“The performance of our electric drive technology – now in its fifth generation – has benefited from more than ten years of experience through the BMW i brand across all areas: the high-voltage battery, electric motor, battery cells, power electronics and charging technology,” sums up Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development. “This far-reaching expertise in all the major components will allow us to further increase the number of electrified models in our line-up to 25 in just over two years.”

Over a million electrified BMWs by the end of 2021.

It was the presentation of the BMW i3 in 2012 followed by its launch just one year later that kicked off the modern era of electric mobility at BMW. The groundbreaking electric car is also a fine example of the advances that BMW has made in the intervening period, as the storage capacity of the high-voltage battery in the BMW i3 has doubled since its debut – without the battery taking up any more space.

Today, some 13.3 per cent of all BMW and MINI models newly registered across Europe have all-electric or plug-in hybrid drive systems. The BMW Group expects this proportion to already rise to a quarter by 2021, a third by 2025 and then half by 2030. BMW and MINI vehicles with an electrified powertrain are now available in 74 markets around the world. Total sales of electrified models in these markets had exceeded 500,000 by 2019 and are likely to top the one million mark by the end of 2021.

In-house developments from the BMW Group for all elements of electric drive.

The BMW Group is relying on in-house developments for all elements of BMW eDrive technology to help it fulfil these ambitious targets. The quality of the electric motors, high-voltage batteries, charging technology and power electronics is rooted in the experience garnered with the BMW i brand since 2011.

The BMW Group will in future manufacture battery modules, high-voltage batteries and electric motors for its electrified models on eight production lines at its competence centre for electric drive systems in Plant Dingolfing. The company plans to install a further four lines over the coming years and ramp up production capacity significantly. Having started with 8,000 square metres of production space in 2015, the competence centre for electric drive system production is set to grow tenfold to 80,000 square metres. The objective is to produce electric drive systems for over half a million electrified vehicles a year in Dingolfing alone as soon as 2022.

Dingolfing already boasts many years of expertise in the manufacture of electric vehicle componentry – the high-voltage batteries for the BMW i3 have been volume produced here since 2013 and the facility has also been building electric motors since 2015. Today, Dingolfing exemplifies the BMW Group’s Power of Choice approach; its innovative production system allows plug-in hybrid and combustion-engined models to roll off the assembly line here alongside fully electric models. This makes the facility a prime case study in how to address the diverse spread of mobility solutions and requirements in play today and to come in the future.

BMW Group covers the entire process chain for electric driving.

The company’s equivalent to Dingolfing for battery expertise can be found in Munich. The Battery Cell Competence Centre opened in 2019 maps the entire value chain of battery technology – from research and development via composition and design to large-scale production. This means the BMW Group is already developing forthcoming generations of battery cells, focusing on customer-relevant aspects such as improving energy density, peak output, service life, safety, charging characteristics and performance at varying temperatures, as well as cost reduction.

In 2022, the centre’s findings will be put into practice at the BMW Group’s new pilot plant for manufacturing lithium-ion battery cells. Currently under construction in Parsdorf near Munich, the facility marks a decisive step in the company’s quest to continue strengthening its position as the leading premium provider of electric mobility. This pilot plant will make BMW the first carmaker to cover the entire process chain for electric driving in-house.

The BMW electric powertrain strategy revolves around the Power of Choice, i.e. providing the customer with the best and most appropriate overall package for their individual requirements every time. As far as electric mobility is concerned, this is primarily a question of striking the perfect balance between performance and range. The development of cutting-edge testing methods and test cases was an important step along this path and has also led to increased efficiency and faster processes.

With this in mind, the BMW Group’s E-Drive system test rig in Munich assists with the development of new system components from day one and enables testing of any conceivable driving manoeuvre. To this end, high-dynamic dynamometers can simulate any combination of rolling, air, gradient, acceleration and inertial resistance in all manner of different conditions – driving in sun, snow, wind, rain, through a city centre or even on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife. And this can all be done every day, round the clock.

The facility even allows test drives to be conducted remotely from the engineer’s home. So electric drive system development work at BMW never stands still – and it is getting faster all the time. The E-Drive system test rig plays a central role here, helped by what is arguably its most impressive feature: the ability to test parts that are not yet available in finished product form by simulating them as virtual components. Together with increased process efficiency, this serves to shorten the development time for innovations by as much as one-and-a-half years.

Fifth-generation eDrive: major benefits for production and sustainability.

The fifth generation of BMW’s eDrive technology is now entering the fray. Key advantages of this highly integrated electric drive component include the absence of rare earths, a compact construction resulting from the integration of electric motor, transmission and power electronics into a single housing, and the flexible scalability rooted in the technology’s modular design. The drive system is compatible with all vehicle concepts and available in a range of power ratings for different models. It will also feature in the BMW i4 and BMW iX models from 2021.

In keeping with its status as a trailblazer for sustainability, the BMW Group has signed contracts with its suppliers committing to the use of green power only from now on in the manufacture of fifth-generation battery cells. As production volumes increase, the switch to green power will save around ten million tonnes of CO2 over the coming decade. That is roughly the quantity of CO2 generated by a city the size of Munich every year.

“The BMW Group is already working on the development of new vehicle concepts that will help shape the future of electric mobility. Because electric drive is not merely a technical innovation and a logical step towards greater sustainability – it also has the potential to open up a new dimension in driving pleasure,” says Martin Schuster, Head of Development E-Powertrain. This is currently being demonstrated behind closed doors by the company’s “Power BEV” experimental vehicle, as it explores the limits of the technically possible.

Three fifth-generation electric motors producing a maximum system output of over 530 kW/720 hp have been fitted in a current BMW 5 Series production model. This trio of drive units were integrated without encroaching on the passenger compartment and deliver extremely dynamic longitudinal and lateral performance. The prototype is equipped with two independently controllable electric motors at the rear axle. These promise pure driving enjoyment thanks to their E‑torque vectoring function, as electric drive brings a new and richly engaging angle to the driving pleasure for which BMW is renowned.

The ultimate in connectivity, computing power, data processing and intelligence .

The principle of swarm intelligence is best known from bees. The individual members of a hive interact and communicate with one another, cooperating as a single organism to also make intelligent decisions, for instance when searching for a nesting site or the most efficient route to a source of food. Such decisions based on information from a swarm tend to be far more intelligent than those taken by one individual on their own.

The same principle underpins a key aspect of connectivity at the BMW Group. As Christoph Grote, Senior Vice President BMW Group Digital Car, explains: Our customers already benefit directly from the swarm intelligence of our connected fleet today. Smart vehicles use their sensors to gather information on traffic, parking spaces, hazardous situations or road signs, for example. This data is aggregated in anonymised form in the BMW cloud and evaluated with the help of machine learning. Relevant information is then fed back to the vehicles, depending on the specific situation. This gives each individual vehicle access to the collective knowledge of 14 million others, and in some respects the swarm will know more than a human possibly can.”

Digital vehicle platform.

It is the high degree of connectivity within the BMW vehicle fleet that makes all the difference. BMW has over 20 years of connectivity experience under its belt. The company installed the first SIM card in a vehicle back in 1997 before going on to lay the groundwork for connected, more individual mobility with BMW ConnectedDrive. Things have progressed at a rapid pace in the meantime. The new digital platform being introduced with the BMW iX sets new standards for connectivity, performance and intelligence. When all vehicle functions are active and operating at full load, the amount of data for processing flowing through the car’s network is between ten and 20 times greater than in the current model generation, with data rates of up to 30 Gbit/s. This is all made possible by the first ever use of Gigabit Ethernet technology in a BMW.

To give an idea of its capabilities, the network aboard the BMW iX can transmit the data stored on an entire DVD in a little over a second. The growth in the volume of data is largely down to the vehicle’s improved system of sensors and is needed for the driving assistance systems.

A multitude of extremely powerful sensors coupled with over 30 antennae and the highly centralised architecture in which complex software functions are concentrated in a handful of central high-performance computers convert the BMW iX into a digital top performer on wheels. It is the first model to feature this technology toolkit, which paves the way for new and highly complex vehicle functions.

Connectivity as an enabler.

This all underpins extremely fast processing of the acquired data. Part of the pre-processed data from the vehicle is transmitted to the cloud at BMW, where the aggregated and anonymised fleet data is analysed and evaluated with the help of machine learning. Relevant information is then sent back to the vehicles, depending on the specific situation, where it helps to increase comfort, efficiency and safety for the driver.

Vehicles with On-Street Parking Information, for example, are already capable of not just showing the driver where there is a parking space, but also estimating the likelihood of it being available at the calculated arrival time. Taking this data as a basis, the route offering the greatest probability of finding a parking spot close to the destination can be calculated for the remainder of the journey, saving customers time and stress. At peak times, cars searching for parking spaces account for as much as one third of the total volume of car traffic in large cities. Shortening the search for parking would therefore result in considerable fuel and emission savings in urban areas, meaning that everyone benefits.

This advanced degree of digitalisation and connectivity is ushering in a new generation of vehicles at BMW that will enjoy continuous improvement during their life cycles. Since the introduction of the modular BMW Operating System 7 vehicle software in 2018, BMW has been offering extensive over-the-air Remote Software Upgrades for its latest generation of models. As a result, BMW vehicles are always up to date, no matter whether they are fresh off the production line or already in action out on the road.

The largest and most extensive upgrade campaign in the company’s history got underway in mid-October 2020. More than 750,000 BMWs around the world are set to receive an array of new functions and improvements, such as the cloud-based navigation system BMW Maps and the integration of Android AutoTM. This is the largest over-the-air update ever to have been rolled out by a European manufacturer.

Matthias Schepke- photos BMW


11.11.2020 / MaP

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