BMW presents latest intelligent hybrid drive system: the ActiveHybrid 5

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 31, 2012

BMW introduces the BMW ActiveHybrid 5, a new series-produced model wherein an electric motor and combustion engine combine their performance to boost efficiency and improve the brand's hallmark driving pleasure. With the launch, the automaker also brings to a higher level the development of intelligent hybrid drive systems. 

Specifically, the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 combines an 8-speed automatic gearbox, a BMW TwinPower Turbo in-line 6-cylinder engine and an electric drive system for the first time. The recent generation of BMW ActiveHybrid technology also delivers precisely controlled as well as extremely effective intelligent energy management.

These all provide the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 an outstanding balance of fuel efficiency and performance for the benchmark performance sedan in the luxury executive vehicle class. Its drive system delivers a combined output of 335 hp, enabling the vehicle to be driven on electric power alone to a maximum of 37 mph (60 km/h) for 2.5 miles (4km). Moreover, it accelerates the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 from a standstill to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds (preliminary).

BMW ActiveHybrid 5 will be available in the United States this March as a 2012 model. It will have a base MSRP of $61,845, including $895 destination and handling. The 300 hp inline-6 with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology used here is the same one popular for its pulling power, free-revving capability and efficiency in the BMW 535i.

The electric motor produces 54 hp. It is powered by a high-performance lithium-ion battery encased in the trunk. A harmonious combination of power from the two drive systems makes sure that the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 features both the sportiest performance in its class and a noteworthy improvement in efficiency. Its full-hybrid drive system allows driving on purely electric power; thus, emission-free driving is possible in urban conditions.

To completely take advantage of the potential of the BMW ActiveHybrid technology, the power electronics in the model utilizes a range of technologies to make sure that the drive system operates at peak efficiency. When the vehicle is braking or coasting, the high-performance lithium-ion battery is recharged.

The electric motor serves as a generator-feeding energy into the high-voltage battery. On the contrary, the electric motor takes on a boost function during under acceleration, assisting the inline-6 by generating an extra burst of power. This gives the sedan's sporty driving quality a noticeably sharper edge.

BMW ActiveHybrid 5 comes with improved power electronics. It manages the internal combustion engine and electric motor using the driving situation as well as creates proactive analysis of the driving situation to make way for more efficient energy use.

The power electronics is integrated with the Professional navigation system that comes as standard on all ActiveHybrid 5 models. This enables the electronics to access the data and analyze it to get warnings of any upcoming changes to the driver’s requirements or in the conditions outside. With this analysis, the car may be prepared way in advance allowing for the onboard electronics and all power train systems to be managed right and for available energy to be used in the most efficient manner.

The topography of the road, the speed limits and other factors may cause a shift in the operating strategy of the powertrain. If the system detects a downhill stretch up ahead, the ActiveHybrid 5 can will switch to electrical energy provided by the battery to power the car, saving on fuel. No worries, because the battery will be regain its charge on the descent. On longer downhill sections, the electric motor’s generator feature kicks in to help recharge the battery without slowing the car down. The ActiveHybrid 5 can also ensure that the battery is on full charge near the end of the journey so that you can use it to extend your driving range on the final lap.

The powertrain parts’ operating status is shown in the instrument panel as well as the Control Display. The energy flow and energy recharging display also shows another gauge that tells you how much of a boost is provided by the electric motor when you are accelerating.

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