The ActiveHybrid 5 is (officially now) the newest concept from BMW's Efficient Dynamics division, and ED has shaken things up a bit in the power train department. Instead of going with a V8-based mild hybrid setup a la the 7-Series and X6 hybrids, BMW decided to try the system out with their award-winning TwinPower Turbo'd 6-cylinder with Start/Stop tech running the show.
The system is fairly straightforward: up front is the engine, followed by the electric motor which is connected via an automatic clutch, and the 8-speed automatic transmission is the caboose. BMW placed the battery pack somewhere around the rear axle in order to improve weight distribution.
The battery pack, which provides 40kW or 54HP of power, gets recharged by an advanced Regenerative Brake system that works in conjunction with the electric motor. That same battery pack also "delivers electric power to the car's on-board network".
The network includes a remote-controlled cooling function (similar, we assume, to the solar-charged sunroofs that incorporate fans to cool the car down in the summer), while most electricity-driven systems - mainly the HVAC, navigation, and radio - remain functional with the engine turned off.
Not only is the ActiveHybrid 5 efficient, but it's damn smart too. How smart? Try to wrap your minds around this: BMW says the car can "adjust its operating strategy not just to current, but also to upcoming driving conditions." IT CAN PREDICT THE FUTURE...
Put plainly, the computer evaluates and adjusts how the drive train responds based on its own analysis of external factors and drivers' input. The car's computer saves route information via the navigation system (while retaining the driving style used one that particular road), and can predict what's coming up when drivers return to the same area.
BMW's explanation is just about perfect: "Should the system determine, for example, that the autobahn ahead is about to lead downhill, the charge level of the high-voltage battery is intelligently controlled in advance to regain brake energy upfront with maximum efficiency."
While no hard figures have been released yet, what we know is that thanks to the predictability program, cruising range has been stretched by 30%.
Now all we have to do is make sure our defense systems don't get hooked into Skynet's err we mean BMW's intelligent automobiles, or we're all screwed.
- By Phil Alex