BMW has been revealed pictures of a prototype version of the BMW iNEXT electric SUV undergoing winter testing in the company’s centre in Arjeplog, Sweden. These things happen ahead of the car going into production in 2021. The challenge for Arjeplog is the low temperatures; electric motor, battery and temperature management system are carefully analyzed here. Both the drivetrain and the stability control systems (and the braking system) will be challenged at the Arjeplog centre on ice-covered trails.
The iNEXT’s set to get two electric motors – one that powers the front wheels and another that powers the back wheels – to give it four-wheel drive. This four-wheel-drive system will be able to act quickly to changing grip levels, sending power instantly to whichever tyre has the most grip. The low-grip conditions mean BMW can optimize the iNEXT’s regenerative brakes. What testing at the Arctic circle is also great for is giving the batteries – which can be significantly less efficient in cold temperatures – a thorough workout, helping BMW understand how to keep them at peak condition whatever the weather.
The BMW i4 is set to use the same platform and will support a maximum battery size of 120kWh, for a range of 435 miles. Given that the iNEXT is a larger vehicle, it seems sensible to expect a range of just under 400 miles.
The prototype is obviously well camouflaged, BMW suggesting that the series version will take on some of the design elements on the Vision iNext present on the concept last year.
According to BMW, the iNEXT project will provide us with building blocks for the future, benefitting the entire company and all its brands. For the first time, they are combining all key technologies for future mobility in one vehicle: It is fully electric, fully connected and also offers highly autonomous driving.