BMW ///M to receive KERS hybrids?

We have seen several sets of spy photos of what can be interpreted as a BMW X6 ///M over the last month. Originally it was thought that it would feature an over boosted version of the Twin Turbo V8 in the xDrive50i as the source of wheel spinning power.

Indications now are that these test mules could be featuring a advanced hybrid system designed under BMW’s F1 program, a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS). This is an different system to the previous hybrid X6 (non-///M) we had featured which will utilize the system jointly developed with MB, GM and Chrysler.

From Car Central:

The KERS system, represents a system developed specifically for F1 based on a combination of existing and proprietary technologies by Torotrak, Xtrac and Flybrid. The result is a package that weighs in at under 24kg, requires only 13L of space and generates the maximum allowed boost of 60kW, with a total of 400kJ than can be delivered over the course of a single lap, meaning maximum power can be delivered for a total of 6.67 seconds. The purely mechanical KERS system uses a highly sophisticated steel and carbon fibre flywheel encased in a vacuum to store energy taken from the car ‘s motion as kinetic energy. A continuously variable transmission links through a secondary clutch to the primary driveline, which is linked to the standard V8 combustion engine. When the driver pushes the button, the clutch engages the always-spinning flywheel, which seamlessly adds its power to the standard engine ‘s. Aadvantages of the KERS system are clear: small size, potent power output and no hassles with bulky, heavy and dangerous batteries.The downsides include limited ability to transfer the system into road cars because of potential licensing issues with the underlying elements of the system.

This form of system would make sense for the ///M division to be testing as it would allow the necessary performance of the marquee unlike other current forms of hybrid technology. Think of it as a shot of nitrous but in a mechanical form. Though this will not improve the MPG of the ///M cars it will provided an extra punch in performance without further diminishing efficiency numbers.

If this information is true the system will not be ready for the mainstream public for several years so we will be seeing many more of these mules testing this alternate technology. This could also mean we will still not see an ///M SAV.

Source: Car Central

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  • Jim

    Why would it be the mechanical KERS? On the 15th BMW announced an electrical system with significantly higher power density than found in todays hybrids..

  • Jim: I think the reason is for serial production and the issues they are having with the system they are working on (mechanic shocked, melt down etc.). The mechanical system is compact and reliable from what I gather… But your guess is as good as mine at this point!

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  • Dave Whitby

    Hi Michael

    It seems to have popped up again!

    http://www.autosphere.ca/en/mechanical-technology-automatic-transmissions.html

    Have you heard any similar whispers?

    “For instance, BMW has included the Torotrak technology in its ActiveHybrid concept car and Mercedes-Benz has also unveiled it in its BlueHybrid concept vehicle too. Who’s next?”

    Éric Descarries 104420.662@compuserve.com March 2, 2010

    New Technologies Automatic Transmissions—Not What They Used to Be

    Toroidal transmissions may very well be the way of the future.

    Unless you are in the business of restoring old cars, you can say goodbye to Powerglides, C-4s, FMXs, Turbo 350 and 400s, and the likes. There is barely any car or light truck left in the industry that is available with a three-speed automatic transmission and before long, even the four-speed trannies will be history. Right now, we are looking at five, six, seven, and even eight speed automatic gearboxes and more and more automakers are adopting the CVT system for better fuel economy. And that’s not it!

    As these words are being written, one of the most advanced “regular” automatic transmissions has to be ZF’s 8-speed hybrid transmission. Thanks to advanced electronics and software controls, this gearbox outperforms most drivers with manual transmissions not only in performance, but also in fuel economy—when equipped with the optional start-stop function (which shuts the engine off when the vehicle is stopped at a red traffic light), this transmission, according to ZF, is 11% more economical than its predecessor. According to Dr. Michael Paul, executive president, Technology at ZF, around half of the potential was achieved by reducing the activation energy of the transmission and by moving the operating point of the engine… all thanks to electronic controls! The 8-speed hybrid transmission by ZF communicates with other subsystems in the vehicle via a multitude of interfaces. “The transmission in a hybrid vehicle has up to 400 signal interfaces to other components,” says Dr. Paul.

    Say hello to the toroidal transmission Recently, many manufacturers opted for the new Dual-Clutch transmission, a really new way of making gears shift. But now, there is something even newer coming up. You probably heard about toroidal transmissions in light machinery or in Formula One. Expect them sooner or later in regular passenger cars. For now, they seem headed towards medium-duty trucks as it was announced recently. As a matter of fact, British-based Torotrak has partnered with Allison Transmissions to develop a medium-duty truck transmission that will feature Torotrak’s full-toroidal transmission technology. The system works with a full-toroidal variator that consists of a set of discs and rollers instead of a system of gears. Consequently, it makes the infinitely variable transmission torque-controlled instead of ratio-controlled. According to Torotrak, this technology offers improved fuel-saving, emissions, and refinement benefits. Add to that an improved riding experience. Commercial vehicles will surely be taking advantage of the Torotrak system but already, there are plans to include it to passenger cars and light trucks.

    For instance, BMW has included the Torotrak technology in its ActiveHybrid concept car and Mercedes-Benz has also unveiled it in its BlueHybrid concept vehicle too. Who’s next?

    Kind regards

    Dave