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Frankfurt Preview: Bmw Concept X6 ActiveHybrid

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BMW will show a concept for its new X6 crossover with a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain. The German premium carmaker hopes to create a new market segment with the X6, a vehicle its calls a "sports activity coupe." The X6, based on the X5 premium crossover, will target customers who want a high-ride vehicle with sporty, coupelike looks.

The BMW Concept X6 ActiveHybrid is an important milestone in the development of hybrid technology because it delivers more useable, enjoyable performance that is superior to conventional drivetrain technology in all driving environments, urban and inter-urban.

The BMW ActiveHybrid for the first time combines the combustion engine and two high-performance electric motors to access greater efficiency of hybrid technology over a much larger speed range than with a conventional hybrid vehicle. BMW ActiveHybrid picks up where hybrids up to now have left off.

BMW has revealed its ActiveHybrid technology in the guise of the BMW Concept X6 Sport Activity Coupé to reinforce the message that the BMW of Hybrids has typical, superior BMW driving dynamics, and authentic, sporting and elegant BMW design.

The BMW ActiveHybrid system responds spontaneously and with outstanding precision to the driver's commands, offering perfect feedback at all times, through sound and feel.

BMW-X6-concept_1

The BMW ActiveHybrid uses an innovative two-mode active transmission, with one setting for step-off performance and the other for higher speed driving, ensuring optimum use of the torque generated as a function of driving conditions.

The active (automatic) transmission incorporates an electric drive system and enables the vehicle to use fixed transmission ratios within one system. This combines the driving dynamics and efficiency of the combustion engine and the electric drive system in an innovative, intelligent manner.

The striking front view of the BMW Concept X6 ActiveHybrid incorporates all the key features of the Concept X6 Sport Activity Coupé, with the addition of new front and rear valances, and a new bonnet design. In addition, there are front and rear brushed aluminium underfloor protection panels, the rear moving to cover the tailpipes while driving solely on electric power.

BMW ActiveHybrid technology has been designed to be consistently applied throughout the range of BMW vehicles in the future, to bring performance and efficiency gains across the model range.

BMW ActiveHybrid is a firm part of the BMW EfficientDynamics development strategy. Introducing this technology, BMW is taking the next step in consistently reducing both fuel consumption and emissions.

"This is the first BMW full hybrid: the BMW among Hybrid cars," said Dr Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the BMW Group AG.

"The BMW Concept X6, the first vehicle we presented today, establishes the new segment of Sports Activity Coupés. At the same time, we are introducing a new engine concept in this class: the BMW Concept X6 ActiveHybrid.

"This is just a preview of how BMW mobility could look in years and decades to come - lower fuel consumption, lower emissions, and with a lot more driving pleasure. This full hybrid is the next logical step in our EfficientDynamics development strategy.

"It is important to discern the difference between BMW technology and other hybrids. We are combining a high-efficiency and high-performance combustion engine with two high-performance electric motors. This is truly unique. It also allows us to make use of the hybrid's efficiency advantage across a much wider speed range," he said.

"The BMW Hybrid offers substantially higher driving dynamics. A hybrid developed by BMW will always be a car that reflects BMW sheer driving pleasure.

"The fuel consumption of the BMW Hybrid is up to 20 percent lower than that of a comparable vehicle with a combustion engine.

"This car will be available to our customers in 2009," Dr Reithofer said.

"This is not the end of the story. It is just the beginning. EfficientDynamics stands for sustainable individual mobility of the future. And we are convinced this initiative will enable us to gain even more success in the future," he said.

BMW-X6-concept

BMW ActiveHybrid. The BMW of Hybrids.

BMW recognised that a BMW Hybrid must deliver all the typical BMW characteristics demanded by customers: innovative technology, elegant design and sporting performance.

The BMW Group has joined forces with General Motors and DaimlerChrysler to form the Global Hybrid Cooperation, to develop the next generation of hybrid drive systems. The two-mode active transmission was created through this cooperation.

The Concept X6 ActiveHybrid combines two compact, high-performance electric motors with a transmission using fixed transmission ratios.

These drive systems are connected to one another by three planetary gearsets allowing a power split covering the drive forces of the combustion engine and the electric motors in two transmission ranges.

This allows a level of variability quite impossible on a conventional hybrid drivetrain. And thanks to the combination of the two drive sources, the Concept X6 ActiveHybrid can provide optimum power and maximum efficiency under all driving conditions, answering the driver’s need for power.

The two-mode active transmission is based on an ECVT electrical continuously variable transmission. The two operating modes, one of which has been optimised for low, the other for high speeds, are supplemented by fixed transmission ratios.

The two power-split ECVT sections allow the drivetrain to run at continuously variable speeds and ensure full, highly efficient hybrid functions throughout the complete operating range of the car.

The result is that the BMW Concept X6 ActiveHybrid is able to reduce fuel consumption by up to 20 per cent compared with a comparable BMW running on a combustion engine alone.

The compact two-mode system allows easy integration into the overall vehicle with only a minimal weight increase, which in the case of the BMW Concept X6 ActiveHybrid, is far less than conventional hybrid cars offering comparable power.

BMW Concept X6 ActiveHybrid can be driven on electric power only, on the combustion engine alone, or with a combination of both power units. Depending on driving conditions, the electric motors may also be used for both accelerating and power regeneration under braking.

Conventional hybrid systems allow efficient motoring only in relatively small or medium-sized vehicles at relatively low speeds. This is because most of the power coming from the combustion engine has to be conveyed most of the time via the electrical path of the transmission and because of the use of a high level of electric power. A car with enhanced dynamics, performance and running speeds would therefore require a larger combustion engine calling for less efficient, larger and heavier electric motors.

Two-mode technology varies the balance of electrical and mechanical energy on the respective paths for optimum efficiency.

In addition, a conventional hybrid drive system does not come with fixed mechanical transmission ratios, which would serve to optimise fuel consumption. Instead, conventional hybrid drivetrains use a continuously variable transmission. The disadvantage is that the actual requirement for performance and load feedback from the car are separated, the result being less than dynamic driving.

The two-mode active transmission, by contrast, overcomes and eliminates the disadvantages of a conventional hybrid drivetrain. It reduces the share of power flowing through the electrical branch of the transmission throughout a broad range of transmission ratios. Through its power split in two transmission ranges, the two-mode active transmission therefore provides the energy of both electric motors in an ideal form tailored to current driving conditions.

The principle of the two-mode active transmission in BMW Concept X6 ActiveHybrid forms a significant milestone in BMW's ActiveHybrid strategy, fulfilling the demands made by a broad range of customers looking for a dynamic, economical and responsible form of motoring.

To reach this goal BMW pursues a clear-cut "Best of Hybrid" strategy enabling use of the optimum components under a modular principle within a wide range of different vehicle concepts planned for the future.

Parallel to the Global Hybrid Cooperation, the BMW Group has entered into yet another joint venture with DaimlerChrysler, developing components for hybrid drive in the luxury performance sedan market.

BMW started to develop hybrid drive many years ago, long before the foundation of the Global Hybrid Cooperation. BMW tested an electric drivetrain in the late 1980s, for example in the BMW E1.

BMW Group has been conducting research on hybrid technology and its various options for more than 15 years, making this technology and the results already obtained a firm part of the BMW X5 EfficientDynamics development strategy.

BMW Group has presented several hybrid vehicle concepts, starting with a hybrid car in 1995 based on the BMW 518i. In particular, the outstanding potential of this drive technology has been proven in the BMW X5 EfficientDynamics presented in 2003 and the BMW Concept X3 EfficientDynamics shown to the world in 2005.

[source: BMW]

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