Endurance test at the North Cape: The BMW iX undergoes final winter testing
A year prior to market launch, the series development process for the BMW iX is forging ahead as scheduled. Following the presentation of the final design of the BMW iX at the #NEXTGen 2020 in Munich, prototypes of the new technology flagship are now ready for final winter testing north of Scandinavia. The endurance test, which is being held under extreme weather conditions beyond the Arctic Circle, serves, among other things, the fine tuning of drive and suspension systems. Moreover, the electric motors, four-wheel drive system as well as charging technology, high-voltage batteries and heat management are put to the demanding acid test under sub-zero temperatures.
The tuning and test drives take the prototypes of the BMW iX as far as Europe’s most northerly regions. On deserted roads in Finnish Lapland and to the North Cape on the Norwegian island of Magerøya, both the fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology and the suspension control systems have to prove their functionality and reliability in particularly demanding road and weather conditions. In the process, test engineers evaluate above all the interaction between drive and suspensions systems on road surfaces with a low friction coefficient. Unsecured tracks, icy roads and ice surfaces especially prepared for test-driving on the edge of the Arctic Circle offer the ideal conditions to precisely coordinate the motor control technology, the electric four-wheel drive and suspension control systems right up to the limits of longitudinal and lateral vehicle dynamics.
The BMW iX is the first model based on a new, modular and scalable future BMW Group construction concept. It was conceived from the outset for purely electric mobility, and with the latest development stage of BMW eDrive Technology, intelligent lightweight construction and optimized aerodynamic characteristics it sets new benchmarks in efficiency within the competitive environment of the luxury Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV). Two electric motors together generate a maximum power output of more than 370 kW/500 hp according to current calculations. An integral part of the endurance test at the North Cape is also the final tuning of the intelligent four-wheel drive system BMW xDrive and adaptive adjustment of the axle-specific yaw moment, which in addition to stability and traction also constantly optimizes the BMW iX’s efficiency. The aim of the development is to achieve an extremely low combined power consumption of less than 21 kWh per 100 kilometres in the WLTP test cycle and a range of more than 600 kilometres, likewise according to WLTP, values which are untypical of this class.
During the winter test, the components of BMW eDrive Technology are faced with very special challenges. The high-voltage batteries and the charging technology undergo in extremely low outdoor temperatures field testing for everyday use in the deep of winter. Likewise, displays informing of charge level, range and operating status as well as the heat management system, which constantly ensures the optimum operation temperature of the drive system and high-voltage batteries, demonstrate their resistance to extreme sub-zero temperatures.
Within the shortest time, the challenging test programme demands more from the BMW iX prototypes than the future production models have to withstand during their entire life cycle. The evaluation of all test results and the resultant fine tuning of all drive and suspension components of the BMW iX will pave the way during the coming months for the launch of a new era of driving pleasure.