Next BMW i8 will take lessons from Formula E
Hardly seems like the BMW i8 needs an update, so advanced is its carbon fibre construction, aerodynamic shape and hybrid powertrain. For now there’s nothing that competes but BMW still isn’t taking any chances and recently announced a few worthy upgrades to the 2017 i8 model.
The revised powertrain might not differ in size but the 1.5-litre 3-cylinder turbo engine has been tweaked although you have to look at the electric unit for the biggest gains. BMW maintains that the front mounted electric motor has increased power by 10%, endowing the new BMW i8 with a sum total of 314kW – up from 266kW.
Performance figures have yet to be verified but with the added power and remapping of the gearbox software, the new i8 should get closer to a 0-100km/h time of 4.0 seconds (currently 4.4s) and improve on the current car’s top speed of 250km/h.
Working closely with Formula E – to which the i8 is the safety car – BMW is confident of extending the range through a more advanced battery pack. To throw some light on the new battery technology, it could adopt the 10.0kWh battery used in the Formula E safety car.
Setting the new i8 apart is the advent of inductive charging, or wireless charging for the layman. This system uses resonant magnetic induction to transfer energy between a ground-based pad connected to the highvoltage electrical system and a collector fitted to the underside of the BMW. Although in isolated situations the technology does work, it will be a long time before it becomes part of our daily routine, especially in third world countries.
Suspension tweaks front and rear could enhance the car’s sporty attitude and if it mimics the setup used on the Formula E safety car, new BMW i8 will rest 15mm closer to the ground. Larger rubber is not out of the equation and the greater mass could be offset by bespoke carbonfibre wheels.
Some of these battery upgrades should be ready when the new BMW i3 is revealed at the Paris Motor Show in September while the new i8 is due to reach showrooms late 2017.