PressClub United Kingdom · Article.
BMW Group Innovation Day 2008: Efficient Mobility.
19.05.2008 Press Kit
Convinced that the key to efficient and, as a result, sustained mobility lies in the enhanced networking of the vehicle, the driver, and surrounding traffic conditions, BMW Group is working on innovations for the further reduction of fuel consumption and emissions - and the focus is not only on the technical features and components within the automobile itself.
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1. Efficient Mobility (Short Version) 2 2. Efficient Mobility (Long Version) 7 2.1 BMW EfficientDynamics: an All-Round Strategy on a Broad Scale. 8 2.2 Efficient and Dynamic Thanks to Cars which Look Ahead. 9 2.3 Electrical Power from Exhaust Heat: the Thermoelectric Generator (TEG). 12 2.4 Using the Power of the Sun. 16 3. Saving Fuel through Traffic Management. 18 3.1 Cooperation for the Future: Optimisation of Traffic Flow. 20 3.2 More Customer Benefits and Efficiency through Innovative Traffic Technology. 23
The BMW Group's EfficientDynamics development strategy proves that a dynamic
driving experience and the reduction of fuel consumption and emissions are by
all means compatible with one another.
Even today, some 40 per cent of all new BMWs and MINIs sold in Europe emit just
104-140 grams of CO2 per kilometre in the European Driving Cycle. Compared with
their respective predecessors, they offer a reduction in fuel consumption and,
accordingly, CO2 of up to 23 per cent.
But the BMW Group is not satisfied with even these outstanding results, and is
therefore working on innovations for the further reduction of fuel consumption
and emissions - and the focus is not only on the technical features and
components within the automobile itself. Rather, the BMW Group is convinced
that the key to efficient and, as a result, sustained mobility lies in the
enhanced networking of the vehicle, the driver, and surrounding traffic
Strategy with a far-reaching impact.
Thanks to their superior technologies promoting the level of efficiency in
every respect, BMW and MINI cars have become the forerunners in their
respective segments not only in terms of fuel economy and emission control, but
also in the dynamic performance they actually offer the driver.
Apart from highly efficient petrol and diesel engines, the wide range of
technologies used for this purpose includes the Auto Start Stop function on the
engine, Brake Energy Regeneration, electric power steering, on-demand
management and control of ancillary units, air flap control at the front end of
the car, the gearshift point indicator, as well as tyres with reduced roll
Cars which look ahead.
The BMW Group's engineers are working on cars which not only respond to the
driver's commands, but also look ahead and act in advance. This means that the
car is able to set itself up to an event or incident approaching, say, within
the next few seconds, thus responding with maximum efficiency and dynamism.
To provide this intelligent function the on-board computer receives a wide
range of data from, say, the navigation system, the electronic engine
management, Active Cruise Control with its radar function, or the rain sensor.
This, in turn, ensures a very precise description of current driving conditions
at all times. Using software developed by the BMW Group's engineers, this
information is then interconnected and bundled in order to anticipate upcoming
events such as the process of overtaking another vehicle, traffic congestion
ahead, or the process of entering the motorway.
Applying this information, the control system activates all features and
components already installed in the vehicle to adjust, say, the temperature of
the engine oil and coolant. If necessary, the air condition compressor or the
generator may be briefly disengaged or the automatic transmission prepared for
an upcoming gearshift.
Depending on the driving conditions anticipated, the car "looking ahead"
spontaneously provides maximum engine power or uses the predective energy
management strategy, for example when approaching a traffic jam or a long
The BMW Group's development engineers are working consistently on the
implementation of such innovative solutions to further enhance the successful
strategy of EfficientDynamics already implemented by BMW. And in all cases
these new functions looking ahead and optimising the consumption of energy
benefit the customer, enhancing the level of efficiency and, at the same time,
offering the customer even greater driving pleasure.
Thermoelectric generator: power from "waste heat".
Even a highly efficient combustion engine converts only about one-third of the
energy in the fuel into mechanical power serving to actually drive the car. The
rest is lost through heat discharged into the surroundings or, quite simply,
leaves the vehicle as "waste heat". Clearly, this offers a great potential for
the further reduction of CO2 emissions which the BMW Group's engineers are
seeking to use through new concepts and solutions.
The generation of electric power in the motor vehicle is a process chain
subject to significant losses. Quite simply because the chemical energy
contained in the fuel is first converted into mechanical energy and then, via
an generator, into electric power.
Now the BMW Group's engineers are working on a technology able to convert the
thermal energy contained in the exhaust gas directly into electric power. This
thermoelectric process of recovering energy and generating power by means of
semi-conductor elements has already been used for decades by NASA, the US Space
Agency, in space probes flying into outer space.
Until just a few years ago, however, such thermoelectric generators (TEGs) were
unsuitable for use in the automobile due to their low level of efficiency. But
since significant progress has been made in materials research in recent times,
the performance and output of such modules has increased significantly. To
generate electric power in the vehicle a thermoelectric generator is integrated
in the exhaust manifold. While the electric power such a system is able to
generate is still relatively small at a maximum of 200 W, rapid progress in
materials research already makes the ambitious objective of generating up to
1,000 W a realistic and by all means feasible proposition.
This energy regeneration system also offers additional effects, such as
providing the engine or the heating system with extra heat when starting the
engine cold. Hence, the thermoelectric generator is an ideal partner for Brake
Energy Regeneration, one of the features of BMW EfficientDynamics. For while
Brake Energy Regeneration serves to supply energy in overrun and when applying
the brakes, TEG offers its benefits when motoring is really fun, that is when
accelerating and enjoying the power of the car. In future thermoelectric
generators will be able to reduce fuel consumption under realistic,
customer-oriented driving conditions by up to 5 per cent.
Solar energy in the automobile.
BMW Group engineers are also looking at solar energy in the interest of
enhanced efficiency on the road. Photovoltaic solar cells covering an area of
one square metre are already able today in Central Europe to generate electric
power of up to 200 W.
Photovoltaic modules may be integrated in sliding or glass roofs. Complete
modules covering the entire roof are obviously able to provide significantly
more electrical power. Such electrical energy available both while driving and
with the car at a standstill may be used, among other things, to fully charge
the starter battery and, accordingly, to take the usual burden off the engine
genera-tor. This offers a significant potential in saving fuel, with the
generation of one kilowatt/hour of electricity via the combustion
engine/generator conversion chain increasing fuel consumption by more than 0.3
Significantly shorter cold start periods for even better fuel economy.
Electrical preheating of the coolant and engine oil subsequently maintained at
an adequate temperature offers a great potential for reducing fuel consumption
by significantly shortening the cold start period in which fuel consumption is
above-average and emissions are generated in a large volume.
To optimise this positive effect, various measures serve to thermally insulate
the engine from outside. Proceeding from the air flaps at the front end of the
car already introduced as one feature of BMW EfficientDynamics, a further
option to reach this objective is therefore to encapsulate the engine.
Apart from heating capacity depending on the intensity and duration of
sunshine, the reduction of fuel consumption also depends on how long the car is
parked: The longer the car remains at a standstill, the greater the reduction
of fuel consumption. So depending on how the customer uses his car, a
significant amount of fuel may be saved in this way alone.
Traffic management for greater efficiency.
In Germany alone, traffic jams and congestion account for some 12 billion
litres of extra fuel consumption each year. Clearly, therefore, it is essential
to enhance the performance and efficiency of the existing road network, to
improve the flow of traffic, and to provide for a smoother and more consistent
spread or distribution of traffic on the road.
The BMW Group is participating in numerous projects to solve traffic problems
in densely populated areas. The Company is working on mobility, telematics and
navigation solutions in order to enhance efficiency in road traffic. And many
of the concepts developed in this process may be applied in other densely
populated areas and conglomerations the world over.
Participating in such projects, the BMW Group is able to focus directly on the
customer's requirements while driving and to help establish an appropriate
framework for this purpose. In this process the BMW Group is looking not just
at the car alone, but rather at the overall system of traffic, supporting the
transfer of processes proven in industry to road transport and thus promoting
innovations in traffic management.
Optimising the flow of traffic.
Efficient traffic management by way of traffic lights is one of the mean
features in modern traffic control. The BMW Group is contributing its know-how
and experience in quality assurance, for example, in order to optimise concepts
such as the "Green Wave". Introduction of "Dynamic Green Waves", as they are
called, serves to reduce fuel consumption on major routes leading into and out
of town by up to 30 per cent.
In Munich the BMW Group Traffic Research Division has helped to develop a
parking space management concept for the inner city serving as a benchmark for
many other densely populated areas. Networking various transport providers and
systems and connecting individual car transport to public short-haul transport
networks, we are able to capitalise on the parking space available and take the
burden off heavily frequented routes leading into and out of town.
Introducing and implementing traffic management concepts such as an optimised
"Green Wave" or dynamic traffic control, CO2 emissions caused by road traffic
may be reduced in Germany alone by about 8 per cent, which is equal to no less
than 7.4 tonnes of CO2.
Traffic technology benefiting the customer.
Taking traffic data and diversion routes suggested by traffic management
centres as well as traffic forecasts into account, vehicle navigation systems
will be able to propose routes in future avoiding congested sections of the
road and traffic jams. Today such dynamic destination guidance by way of
navigation systems is only possible on the motorway, since this is the only
place where sufficient traffic data is available. This is why BMW Group
engineers are developing a brand-new technology for the generation of data,
setting the foundation for strategic route guidance and for calculating
alternative routes which really help the driver save time.
Using data and strategies obtained from traffic management and monitoring
traffic conditions with greater precision, such systems will be able in just a
few years to inform the driver and the vehicle in good time of obstructions or
other events, helping to ensure a more economical style of motoring.
BMW cars will then be able to operate as "sensors" in traffic, following the
XFCD - Extended Floating Car Data - philosophy. Through on-board systems such
as ABS, engine management or the rain sensor, the car is able to detect and
record road, weather, and traffic conditions then transmitted to the traffic
control centre or directly to other vehicles on the same route.
While this new technology is still in the development stage, its practical use
in customer cars is already coming closer to reality. Then BMW or MINI
customers will be able, with the help of their navigation system, to choose
routes with the lowest fuel consumption or the best weather conditions at a
specific point in time.
Introducing and implementing this wide range of individual technologies and
features in modern traffic management, the BMW Group will be able, over and
above new developments and technical features in the vehicle itself, to make an
important contribution in improving mobility and reducing CO2 emissions to an
even lower level.