BMW i8 Concept: Born Electric
After successful initial testing of the vehicle concept, the decision for a series-production vehicle was quickly made. The BMW i8 Concept is the next step in the evolution of the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics Concept. The result: The most progressive and innovative sports car of its time. Its innovative plug-in hybrid concept combines the modified electric drive system from the BMW i3 Concept – fitted over its front axle – with a high-performance three-cylinder combustion engine producing 164 kW/220 hp and 300 Nm (221 lb-ft) at the rear. Working in tandem, they allow the two drive systems to display their respective talents to the full, delivering the performance of a sports car but the fuel consumption of a small car.
Acceleration of 0 to 62 mph in under five seconds combined with fuel consumption in the European cycle of under three liters per 100 kilometers (approx. 94 mpg imp) are figures currently beyond the capability of any vehicle powered by a combustion engine of comparable performance. Thanks to the eDrive technology with its large lithium-ion battery, which can be charged from a domestic power supply, the BMW i8 Concept can travel to approx. 20 miles on electric power alone. Added to which, the 2+2-seater offers enough space for four people, giving it a high level of everyday practicality.
The LifeDrive architecture of the BMW i8 Concept has been carefully adapted to enhance the vehicle's sports car character, and therefore to deliver unbeatable performance and excellent driving dynamics. The motor in the front axle module and combustion engine at the rear are connected by an "energy tunnel", which houses the high-voltage battery. This gives the car a low centre of gravity – and the dynamic benefits that come with it. The positioning of the electric motor and engine over their respective axles and the space-saving and well-balanced packaging of all components result in an optimum 50/50 weight distribution.
Efficient and dynamic – the BMW i8 Concept.
The emotional design of the BMW i8 Concept ensures its qualities are clear for all to see. Its dynamic proportions give the BMW i8 Concept the appearance of surging forward before it even turns a wheel and lend visual form to its extraordinary performance.
The sporting character continues into the interior. Boasting a driver-focused environment the BMW i8 Concept immerses the driver fully in the unique driving experience. The BMW i8 Concept is the sports car for a new generation – pure, emotional and sustainable.
The design of the BMW i8 Concept is as special as the car's overall concept embodying the perfect synthesis of technology and aesthetic appeal. Its sweeping lines and flat silhouette lend the vehicle a strikingly dynamic appearance even when standing still. A large, transparent greenhouse lends the exterior an extraordinary feeling of lightness and highlights the exceptional efficiency of this vehicle concept. Short front and rear overhangs round off the sport overall impression. Despite its dynamic appearance, the 2+2-seater can accommodate four people, giving it a high degree of everyday practicality.
As with the BMW i3 Concept, layering again serves as the central design element of the interior and exterior. The individual vehicle components are also clearly visible from the outside, the black and transparent Life module clearly setting itself apart from the silver-colored body components around it. This layering approach lends the BMW i8 Concept an extremely technical and cutting-edge appeal.
Dynamic side view.
Striking front end.
A black, semi-transparent "V" rises out of the bonnet just behind the kidney grille, opening out towards the windscreen and guiding the eye to the electric motor below. The "V" also offers the first glimpse of the CFRP module and extends back towards the rear like a black band to provide a visual connection between the different sections of the car.
Sporty back end.
At the rear, the car's exceptional sportiness is also expressed in width-accentuating lines, three-dimensional air outlets and "floating" tail lights with air through-flow. The tail lights, which also have a distinct horizontal design, are integrated into the upper layer of the rear and share the signature U-shape of the BMW i light concept.
The LifeDrive architecture of the BMW i8 Concept.
BMW i8 Concept sees the LifeDrive architecture adapted to suit the vehicle's sports car character – i.e. primed to deliver leading performance and sharp dynamics.
In a departure from the purely horizontal configuration favored for the BMW i3 Concept, the LifeDrive architecture of its BMW i8 Concept sibling also features vertical layering. The drive systems powering the BMW i8 Concept are integrated into the front and rear axle modules, with the CFRP Life module providing the bridge between the two. As a plug-in hybrid, the BMW i8 Concept is designed for all-electric and combustion engine propulsion, and therefore carries fewer battery cells than the BMW i3 Concept. These are stored in the Life module inside the energy tunnel, a structure similar to a central transmission tunnel.
The front and rear axle modules therefore combine with the passenger cell and battery to form a functional unit, which adopts not only load-bearing responsibilities but also extensive crash functions. The location of the high-voltage battery in the energy tunnel gives the vehicle a low center enhancing its dynamics. Together with the positioning of the motor and engine over the axles, the result is optimum 50/50 weight distribution. All in all, the BMW i8 Concept offers the ideal environment in which to experience the special drive concept and distinctive sports car character of the BMW i8 Concept on the road.
The suspension geometry is also designed to deliver optimum handling properties, in keeping with the car's sporty profile. Thus the multi-link front axle makes for an extremely flat and aerodynamically efficient silhouette while also eliminating any drive forces which may otherwise affect the steering, ensuring optimum handling in every situation.
Best of both worlds – the BMW i8 Concept.
The i8 Concept combines the advantages of two different drive systems. As a plug-in hybrid it reaps the benefits of an electric motor and an internal combustion engine for maximum efficiency with maximum dynamics.
At the front axle is the electric motor adopted from the BMW i3 Concept and modified for use in the BMW i8 Concept's hybrid power train, while a 164 kW/220 hp turbocharged three-cylinder gas engine developing up to 300 Nm (221 lb-ft) of torque drives the rear axle. Together, the two drive units take the vehicle to a governed top speed of 155 mph. Like the electric motor, the 1.5-litre three-cylinder gas engine was developed entirely in-house by the BMW Group and represents the latest state of the art in conventional engine design. Acceleration of 0 to 62 mph in under five seconds combined with fuel consumption in the European cycle of under three liters per 100 kilometers (approx. 94 mpg imp) are figures currently beyond the capability of any vehicle powered by a combustion engine of comparable performance. Depending on charging habits and the nature of the route, it is even possible to improve on these figures.
The hybrid concept means that the BMW i8 Concept can also run purely on electric power. The energy supplied by battery system installed between the front and rear axle modules to the electric motor at the front axle gives the BMW i8 Concept an all-electric driving range of approximately 20 miles. The battery can be fully recharged in less than 2 hours using an installed wallbox.
Laser Light. Leading the way to the future.
The BMW i8 Concept is not only fast and extremely fuel efficient, it also leads the way in innovative vehicle light technology.. For the first time BMW introduces as part of the BMW i8 Concept the newly developed Laser Light. Headlights that are more efficient than LED lights, highly flexible, ten times smaller, pleasant to the eye and absolutely safe.
By definition, laser lighting is radically different from sunlight, and also from the various types of artificial lighting in common use today. Laser lighting is monochromatic and it is also a "coherent" light source. As a result, laser lighting can produce a near-parallel beam with an intensity a thousand times greater than that of conventional LEDs. Also, the high inherent efficiency of laser lighting means that laser headlights have less than half the energy consumption of LED headlights. Simply put, laser make the BMW i8 Concept even more efficient.
The intensity of laser light poses no possible risks to humans, animals or wildlife when used in car lighting. Amongst other things, this is because the light is not emitted directly, but is first converted into a form that is suitable for use in road traffic. The resulting light is very bright and white. It is also very pleasant to the eye and has a very low energy consumption.
A further feature of laser technology, which has important implications, is the size of the individual diodes. This opens up all sorts of new possibilities when integrating the light source into the vehicle. These size advantages could be used to reduce the depth of the headlight unit, and so open up new possibilities for headlight positioning and body styling.
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