BMW’s NextGen event has come and gone.
The BMW Group showcased plenty of technology and next-gen mobility possibilities during the virtual event. Here are some of the coolest developments, including the new BMW iX.
1. BMW iX
Originally starting out as the BMW Vision iNext, BMW will be bringing their concept to market by the end of 2021 as the all-new BMW iX Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV).
With the fifth-generation of the BMW eDrive technology, the power unit is set to be manufactured without the use of rare earths and will post a “combined electric power consumption figure for its segment of less than 21 kWh per 100 kilometres (62 miles) in the WLTP test cycle.” according to BMW.
There’s also a new technology toolkit in the iX which makes it possible for 20x the data volume to be processed as compared to previous models. The iX is also 5G-capable and will be fitted with more powerful sensor technology all packed away in the kidney grille at the front end.
2. MINI Vision Urbanaut
MINI is showcasing their idea of what a self-driving car should not only look like, but also how there are use cases beyond just driving with ‘MINI Moments’. Three curated moments, Chill, Wanderlust and Vibe, allow for the passengers in the car to either relax and use the time for work or other activities, drive the car themselves with automated features or allow the car to drive itself, as well as the Vibe mode prioritising spending time with other people.
When the car is stationary, the driver seat can even transform into a daybed in the Chill and Vibe moments while the windscreen can open upwards to create a sort of “balcony” overlooking the street.
It’s definitely an interesting concept, and something to keep in mind as countries all over the world start to figure out how to integrate self-driving cars.
3. BMW Motorrad Definition CE 04
Back in 2017, BMW showcased its Motorrad Concept Link electric scooter concept, and now the group has announced the Motorrad Definition CE 04, a close-to-production version.
There are definitely still similarities present, but the main colour scheme has changed to white for the main body, with more striking orange accents.
By placing the flat battery in the underbody, BMW has managed to pack in a new storage system that can be opened from the side, giving riders easy access to helmets and other equipment. In addition, there’s a 10.25″ display which connects to the rider’s smartphone and “acts as an interface between the digital and analogue worlds of the rider”.
4. Electric Drive Developments
BMW’s electric drive technology is now in its fifth generation, and Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development says: “This far-reaching expertise in all the major components will allow (BMW) to further increase the number of electrified models in our line-up to 25 in just over two years.”
The BMW Group is relying on in-house research and development for all aspects of the electric drive, with parts such as batteries, electric motors and more in Plant Dingolfing. The end goal is to produce electric drive systems for over half a million electric vehicles a year in Dingolfing alone by 2022.
As mentioned earlier, the electric drive is now in its fifth-generation, and will not make use of rare earths in the manufacturing process. The fifth-gen eDrive will also feature in the BMW i4 and BMW iX models from 2021.
5. Partnership with Epic Games
Connectivity is definitely one of the most important aspects in cars moving forward, and the BMW iX will not only support 5G connectivity, but BMW Group has also partnered with Epic Games, using Unreal Engine in the development of the BMW iX’s interface and user experience.
Matthias Oberhauser, Product Owner Design and Virtual Product Experience BMW, said: “Today, gaming technologies offer many of the functions – for example, virtual reality and the interaction between users – that we are lacking in our engineering tools, that’s why we have taken a lead from gaming technology for this project. In 2015 a small team at BMW set about modifying the game engine so we could use it in vehicle development.”
It’s definitely intriguing to see how BMW has adapted to current market trends and even managed to bring their concepts to market in just a few years. We’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for the BMW iX once it hits the roads next year.