BMW begins testing four motor, four-wheel-drive prototype EV with torque vectoring

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BMW has commenced the first development drives of a concept test vehicle which incorporates its latest prototype drive and chassis control systems. The concept testing focuses on a four-wheel drive system comprising four electric motors and an integrated driving dynamics control system which permits torque vectoring.

The engineers at BMW M developed the test vehicle based on the i4 M50, with a modified body to permit the integration of new front and rear axle designs. The front end of the vehicle features an adapted body strut concept taken from the BMW M3/ M4 series, selected due to its particularly high torsional rigidity. The arrangement of the radiator units is also based on the configuration developed for the company’s current high-performance sports cars.

The four-wheel-drive system uses four electric motors, one driving each wheel, which BMW highlights opens new possibilities for infinitely variable, precise and at the same time very fast distribution of drive torque.

“Electrification opens up completely new degrees of freedom for us to create M-typical dynamics,” said Dirk Häcker, head of development at BMW M. “And we can already see that we can exploit this potential to the maximum, so that our high-performance sports cars will continue to offer the M-typical and incomparable combination of dynamics, agility and precision in the locally emission-free future.”

The four motors are connected to a central, integrated control unit that permanently monitors the driving condition and tries to determine the driver’s intent. Power distribution is calculated rapidly based on values for the accelerator pedal position, steering angle, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, wheel speeds and other parameters.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he oversees Automotive Powertrain Technology International and Professional Motorsport World magazines as editor.

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