Frankfurt Motor Show 2009: BMW Vision conceptBMW's EfficientDynamics sportscar from the future
03 September 2009
Welcome to the future of the performance car. BMW’s Vision EfficientDynamics concept is a plug-in hybrid with the performance of a BMW M3, and it's set to wow crowds at the Frankfurt Motor Show later this month.
Constructed from aluminium and polycarbonate, this futuristic 2+2 coupé sprints from zero to 62mph in just 4.8 seconds and is electronically limited to 155mph. Yet the Vision EfficientDynamics concept is powered by a three-cylinder turbodiesel engine and two electric motors - one at the front and one at the back. It emits just 99g/km CO2.
Electric motors mean 50g/km CO2
Even better, when the BMW runs on electric power alone this drops to just 50g/km CO2, taking into account the emissions generated by the electricity grid used to charge the batteries when the Vision EfficientDynamics is plugged into the mains. The batteries do, however, give a range of just 31 miles.
This isn’t as bad as it seems. The state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery cells take just two-and-a-half hours to charge using a regular household power socket - incredibly fast. With a boosted power supply, a full change can be completed in only 44 minutes.
Combining the electric motors with the diesel engine gives a total range of around 435 miles. Power output is a sizable 351bhp, with up to 590lb ft of torque (pulling power). The nature of electric motors means that most of the torque is available immediately, making for extremely responsive performance.
Three-cylinder diesel for production?
Given the looks you would be forgiven for thinking that the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics is little more than a show-stopping styling exercise.
But the diesel engine at least seems likely to be more. This 1.5-litre unit is effectively half the 3.0-litre straight-six seen in the and, thanks to the latest common-rail injection technology and a variable geometry turbocharger, it produces a substantial 160bhp on its own.
This is 18bhp more than the four-cylinder 2.0-litre diesel in the current 318d, and sets a new bhp per litre record for a diesel engine, at 107bhp/litre. We strongly suspect BMW plans to use it in a production car very soon.
Will people buy a three-cylinder BMW? If the performance/efficiency/price equation is right, then probably yes.
Green technology of the future
Besides the hybrid drivetrain, green technology featured on the Vision EfficientDynamics includes a stop/start system and brake energy regeneration.
In addition, a powerful computer reads and adapts the car to the road ahead in order to conserve as much energy as possible, while a thermo-electric generator recaptures heat energy from the exhaust system and uses it to help charge the batteries.
The minimalist interior saves weight, and is dominated by a three dimensional head-up display, which allows the driver to rearrange information according to importance.
The overall look of the Vision EfficientDynamics is influenced by its Formula 1-derived aerodynamics. But take away all the fancy bits and you may be looking at the silhouette of a far more conventional future BMW model.
We’ll have to wait and see, but for now the Vision EfficientDynamics can be seen at the in mid-September.
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