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13-09-2022 | Electric Vehicles | News | Article

BMW M Tests All-wheel Drive with Four Electric Motors

Author: Christiane Köllner

1:30 min reading time
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BMW M has begun initial test drives with a technology carrier for drive and chassis control systems. A concept consisting of four electric motors and integrated vehicle dynamics control is being tested.

BMW’s sports car division BMW M has unveiled a test vehicle for "innovative drive and chassis control systems" based on the BMW i4 M50 with a modified body. The concept testing focuses on an all-wheel drive system consisting of four e-machines and an integrated vehicle dynamics control system. The developments resulting from the tests could find their way into future electric high-performance sports cars.

The front end of the vehicle features a body strut concept adapted from the BMW M3 / M4 series for particularly high torsional rigidity in extremely dynamic driving situations. The arrangement of the radiator units is also based on the configuration developed for the current high-performance sports cars.

M-xDrive all-wheel drive with four electric motors

The core of the drive system, which is now making its first appearance on the road in the test vehicle, is an electric M-xDrive all-wheel drive system with four electric motors. The fact that all four wheels are driven by one electric motor each opens up new possibilities for variable, precise and very fast distribution of drive torque in line with demand and the situation.

The four motors are connected to a central, highly integrated control unit that permanently registers the driving status and the driver’s wishes. The values for accelerator pedal position, steering angle, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, wheel speeds and other parameters are used to calculate the ideal power transmission to the road within milliseconds, BMW says. The signals for this are sent directly via a multi-plate clutch and differentials to the four engines, which convert them. The four motors can also take over the function of a generator when braking before a curve, for example, and feed electricity back into the high-voltage battery.

i7 M70 to arrive in 2023

Currently, the purely electrically powered BMW i4 M50 and BMW iX M60 performance cars are on offer. The BMW i7 M70, the first BMW M car based on an all-electric luxury sedan, is scheduled to follow next year. Production of the BMW XM with V8 M hybrid drive will begin before the end of 2022.

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