BMW Group and NTU embark on S$1.3 million electromobility research NTU receives BMW i3 and BMW i8 as research platforms.
BMW Group and Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) today launched a new electromobility research programme, involving the all-electric BMW i3 and plug-in hybrid sports car BMW i8 that runs on electricity and petrol.
This new research programme will be conducted at the Future Mobility Research Lab located on the NTU campus, which is the BMW Group’s first joint lab in Southeast Asia.
Both parties will be injecting a combined S$1.3 million to drive the new research projects, on top of the initial S$5.5 million funding allocated to the joint lab in 2013.
The new research programme will focus on two new areas, Electromobility in Asia and also Smart Materials. This is in addition to the original three research topics that the joint lab is working on: Advanced Battery, Driver Enhancement and Intelligent Mobility.
At the launch ceremony today at NTU, the BMW Group announced that the BMW i3 and BMW i8 will be provided as research platforms to the Future Mobility Research Lab.
The ceremony was graced by Mr Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State at Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry; Mr Volker Bouffier, Prime Minister of the Federal State of Hesse and President of the German Bundesrat; and His Excellency, Dr Michael Witter, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Singapore.
The scientists at the joint lab will use the two BMW i vehicles to conduct research on real-life driver behaviour and to collect in-depth data on vehicle performance. The two cars will also conduct on-road trials of new technologies such as a mobile application that can accurately predict traffic and estimated end-to-end travelling time.
Mr. Axel Pannes, Managing Director of BMW Group Asia said: “We are very satisfied with our partnership with NTU and the establishment of the Future Mobility Research Lab, thanks to the high level of competency from NTU’s research staff and interdisciplinary teams.”
“Through the relentless efforts of the dedicated researchers, we have already made some important findings through the earlier research topics in a short period of just two years. With the expanded research scope on Electromobility in Asia and Smart Materials, more invaluable knowledge will be gained by both parties. Further, the knowledge will also be transferred to Singapore’s academia and broaden their technical understanding of modern full-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. It will definitely forge a stronger technological partnership between the BMW Group and NTU,” added Mr. Pannes.
Professor Lam Khin Yong, NTU’s Chief of Staff and Vice President (Research), said the new research programme will build on the research successes of the NTU-BMW joint lab.
“The new research programme will further exploit the synergy between BMW Group’s leadership and expertise in automotive sciences and NTU’s leading research in sustainability and clean technologies. The NTU-BMW joint lab has already made important advancements in areas such as new battery materials that can extend the range of an electric vehicle and innovative driver assistive technologies to greatly enhance safety.”
“NTU is one of the eight top universities across the globe that BMW has established a strategic partnership with. The BMW i3 and i8 will be used by BMW and NTU scientists to develop and test innovative technologies in real-life conditions and this new research programme extends NTU’s efforts in developing future mobility solutions with global impact,” said Prof Lam.
Mr Volker Bouffier, Prime Minister of the Federal State of Hesse and President of the German Bundesrat, said: “The new electromobility research programme launched by NTU and BMW emphasises the strong and fruitful bilateral relations between Germany and Singapore in the fields of research. Certainly the programme will further strengthen the ties on each side. Thus, to study and develop key areas which relate to future transportation will be a crucial factor on our way to a modern globalised world based on sustainable development.”
Mr Tan Kong Hwee, Director, Transport Engineering, Singapore Economic Development Board, said: “BMW's partnership with NTU for the set-up of its Future Mobility Lab is testament to the increasing interest in urban mobility and Singapore’s attractiveness for the conduct of research and development in this area.”
Electromobility in Asia
The main goal of embarking on the Electromobility in Asia project is to find out how drivers interact with BMW i vehicles in real life, so as to better understand user behaviours and to improve electric and plug-in hybrid technology for the future.
By conducting the research in Singapore, a densely-populated, urban city state, it will enable researchers in the joint lab to gain insights on how electric vehicles can be made more relevant for global megacities. Other study topics include how emerging technologies like fast charging, wireless charging and smart assistant driving technologies will impact the consumer.
With today’s proliferation of touchscreen interfaces being used increasingly in vehicles, there is a need to study how these touchscreen surfaces can be made more tactile.
Through research in various shape memory materials and dielectric polymers, scientists will look at developing technologies which can enable buttons to appear on interactive surfaces and touch screens when needed.
Mr Pannes added that Singapore is the perfect venue for the BMW Group to conduct research on electromobility.
“In Singapore, the second most densely populated country in the world, we anticipate that electric vehicles with its zero tailpipe emissions and exhaust fumes will be a key player in the transportation network of the future. The city-state also has high connectivity and a tech-savvy population, which makes it more receptive towards new cutting-edge technology. Further, we believe Singapore has the potential to become a R&D hub for electromobility, especially with its clearly expressed ambitions to become a Smart Nation. We want to play a contributive role in that,” said Mr Pannes.
Future Mobility Research Lab breakthroughs
The Future Mobility Research Lab, set up in April 2013, aims to research and develop key areas relating to future transportation, which includes Advanced Battery, Driver Enhancement, and Intelligent Mobility.
After two years of intensive research, the Future Mobility Research Lab has made some significant findings in the following areas:
• New battery materials are being experimented on, such as high-voltage cathodes and anodes (the positive and negative poles of a battery), which can potentially double the energy density, which is important in extending the range of an electric car as well as enable faster charging times.
• Current sensor technologies are able to tell if a driver is sleepy or alert and if the vehicle is on a collision course with another vehicle, based on the speed and direction it is travelling. However, the sensor systems are independent of each other, and does not take into account the driver’s present condition and adjust to it.
• A driver enhancement system is now being developed to adapt to the driver’s condition, to either increase or decrease the number of assistance technologies deployed to help the driver. It is based on parameters such as whether the driver is alert or sleepy, if he/she is paying attention to the road, and if traffic conditions around the vehicle is congested or sparse.
• A mobile application has been developed which can better predict the traffic conditions and accurately estimate arrival time at the destination. This app is based on an intelligent routing system that calculates individual driving style and current traffic situation based on real-time traffic information. It also has a parking search system that analyses the parking situation around the destination.
BMW appoints Prestige Automobile (Pvt) Ltd as authorised dealer of new BMW i sub-brand.
BMW i3 & i8 set to retail in Sri Lanka in 2015.
Colombo – BMW Asia today announced Prestige Automobile as the sole authorised importer in Sri Lanka for BMW i the BMW sub-brand for its electric cars comprising the all-electric BMW i3 and BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car.
With this appointment, Prestige Automobile will be equipped with specialist technical abilities that will enable them to carry out repairs to the BMW i vehicles’ high voltage batteries. A wider service network is also planned to offer extended coverage for the general service, maintenance and repair of the vehicles.
“As the most sustainable car brand in the world, BMW has always been clear on its strategy to build cars that are powerful yet fuel efficient and low on CO2 emissions. With the arrival of BMW i, we have most definitely taken this effort to a new level by setting new benchmarks across the industry,” said Mr Axel Pannes, Managing Director of BMW Group Asia. “Through the appointment of Prestige Automobile as our official BMW i importer in Sri Lanka, we are confident that they will be able to grow the sub-brand to greater heights when the BMW i3 and BMW i8 start retailing in Sri Lanka later this year.”
“Prestige Automobile has been representing BMW for 21 years and we have grown in tandem with the remarkable development of the brand in Sri Lanka. The appointment as official BMW i dealer has a deeper and richer significance for us. It signifies the trust BMW places in Prestige Automobile to grow and develop one of the most exciting chapters in BMW’s fabled history – the launch of the BMW i brand. We are very excited to embark on this new adventure in our partnership with BMW,” said Mr Heinz Reuter, Managing Director of Prestige Automobile.
Unlike conventional electric cars that are usually modified from existing on-road models to simply include a large battery, BMW i vehicles are purpose-built electric cars designed from scratch. Built with a unique LifeDrive architecture, the main body (Life Module) of the BMW i cars is made of Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic that not only weighs half the weight but is five times tougher than steel. This is the same material that is widely used on Formula One racing cars, fighter jets and selected supercars.
The aluminium chassis (Drive Module), meanwhile, has been devised specially to house the bulky battery to ensure better driving dynamics and overall balance. By doing so, BMW i cars are able to bear the sustainable characteristics of an electric car whilst not having to compromise on the sheer driving pleasure that a BMW is renowned for.
About BMW i
The BMW i is a new sub-brand of BMW that focuses on the production of purpose-built electric cars targeted for megacity usage. It was derived from Project i, a BMW Group think tank that was set up to explore and develop sustainable, pioneering mobility solutions since 2007. To deepen the knowledge of how electric cars are used on an everyday basis, BMW Group even conducted field tests with a fleet of more than 600 MINI E cars and over 1,000 BMW ActiveE vehicles.
Through the study, BMW is able to better understand the daily operational challenges faced by an electric car driver and his mobility pattern. BMW i eventually previewed in the shape of the futuristic-looking BMW i3 and BMW i8.
All-electric BMW i3.
The BMW i3 is an uncompromisingly sustainable vehicle designed for urban areas. Driven purely by electric power and purpose-built to meet demands of sustainable and emission-free mobility, it embodies an intelligent form of urban transportation and commuting.
BMW i3 is set to be a well-resolved all-round megacity vehicle, with every detail conceived and optimised to fulfill its eventual purpose. Central to its design is the innovative LifeDrive architecture, the key to the BMW i3’s appeal as a light, safe and spacious car. Innovative use of materials and intelligent lightweight design not only enable the BMW i3 to travel long distances on a single charge and provide superb safety in the event of a collision, they also help give the car its excellent driving dynamics. The secure arrangement of the battery in the Drive module gives the vehicle a very low centre of gravity and optimum weight distribution.
BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car.
The BMW i8 is the first BMW plug-in hybrid sports car built with the revolutionary LifeDrive architecture and advanced lightweight material like carbon-fibre-reinforced-plastic (CFRP). The BMW i8 features the latest BMW EfficientDynamics technology, including a rear-mounted 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology that can generate up to 231 hp and a maximum torque of 320 Nm. It also features a hybrid synchronous electric motor that can channel a maximum output of 131 hp and torque up to 250 Nm to its front wheels via a two-stage transmission, during which it is capable of delivering zero tailpipe emissions.
When the BMW TwinPower Turbo and BMW eDrive technology are activated concurrently, the BMW i8 is capable of producing up to 362 hp and 570 Nm that can propel the car from 0- 100km/h in just 4.4 seconds. Yet, the BMW i8 has the fuel economy and emissions better than a small car at an amazing 47km per litre [2.1litres per 100km; as per average EU test cycle].