Monday, October 2, 2023
News The First BMW M EV Could Feature a Simulated Gearbox

The First BMW M EV Could Feature a Simulated Gearbox

BMW M could take a page out of Hyundai N's book for its first "full-fat" EV.

  • The Hyundai IONIQ 5 N recently introduced this feature.

  • BMW M boss says this solution could be used to help drivers gauge their speed on the track.

  • The first actual M electric model is scheduled to be launched by the end of the decade.

In a recent interview with Australian publication Which Car?, the boss of BMW’s M division, Frank van Meel, said that the first actual M EV could be equipped with a simulated manual gearbox.

This feature has been showcased by Hyundai, who recently launched the IONIQ 5 N performance EV.

In this case, the electronic “gearbox” replicates the behaviour and feel of an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission by altering the power delivery of the electric motor and momentarily cutting power altogether when the driver requests a shift up or down with the steering wheel paddles.

In order to further the illusion, the car is also fitted with an engine noise generator that sounds like an engine revving and shifting through the gears.

The BMW executive said that he likes the way Hyundai implemented this system, but he doubts a possible BMW application would have as many as 8 simulated ratios.

While this may sound gimmicky, van Meel believes that simulating engine speed and gear changes in an electric car could help drivers perform better on track, which is always a target for the performance division of the German automaker.

Indeed, the thinking is that the lack of feedback from the powertrain on typical EVs makes it more difficult for drivers to know how fast they are going on track since they don’t have time to look down at the speedometer.

In a gasoline-powered vehicle, the driver can use the engine noise and the current gear as indicators of the approximate vehicle speed, which is what BMW intends to reproduce.

Other ways that are being explored to reach the same goal are vibrations and different acoustic feedbacks, per van Meel.

While the M division of BMW had a hand in the development of the current i4 M50 and i7 M60 models, they are not “full-fat” M models, which are reportedly more challenging to develop.

Some of the areas that are being looked into include the thermal management of the battery, the overall weight of the vehicle, and the repeatability of the performance.

This is why the first regular M electric car is only expected to arrive toward the end of the decade.

Source:  Which Car?

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