BMW Video Highlights 5th Generation Electric Powertrains

JAN 17 2018 BY MARK KANE 32

BMW presents its upcoming next-generation battery and powertrain architecture that will enable BEVs to drive for up to 700 km (435 miles), and PHEVs up to 100 km (62 miles).

BMW 5th Generation Electric Powertrain

The solution of choice is flat and configurable battery packs, that can consist of a various number of modules.

The modules themselves will be configurable to accommodate more or less cells, as well as handle cells of different heights.

The 5th generation electric powertrain will be much more power dense.

The electric motor, power electronics and the single-speed transmission will be integrated into one unit, saving weight and size. Moreover, units will be ready to use in rear, front or all-wheel drive cars.

The new platform for a broad range of vehicle sizes and types should be ready by 2021.

BMW Next generation modular batteries

BMW 5th Generation Electric Powertrain

Categories: BMW, Videos


Leave a Reply

32 Comments on "BMW Video Highlights 5th Generation Electric Powertrains"

newest oldest most voted

Interesting way to show Tesla’s approach is valid for BEVs. Immitation is the highest form of flattery.

Maybe, but it’s not like these important but basic features of Tesla’s design are Tesla’s original ideas, or even non-obvious. Even people like me, and I’m no car engineer, understood well back in 2005 that an EV ought to be designed with the “skateboard” battery and a single-speed transmission and motor integrated with the axle.

What’s new here is the modularity. This is *potentially* interesting, but probably not. It would make possible an upgrade path that is more flexible than switching the whole pack. But I doubt that would be economically interesting for both BMW and the customer, as it needs to be to actually work.

Under car batteries is low CG, rear motor is where you drive, common sense.

The original GM Skateboard chassis is from 2002, well before Tesla. This is not a new idea.

And I can’t help but notice that GM did not bother to use their own design with the skateboard chassis until 2017 with the Bolt.

I think you missed one of the big advantages of modular batteries. Based on what I saw in the video, if you had battery issues, you may be able to isolate it to a single module (or 2 or 3 or whatever) and just quickly swap out that module like you would in for instance a small electronics UPS.


This is how it is done! 🙂

BMW is paving the way among ICE OEMs.

Now, how about a BMW with a 60+ kWh battery, in a regular aerodynamic sedan, with regular/traditional opening doors. Hopefully, starting at just under $50k here in the US.

Don’t forget: with a 100kW minimum interstate fast charge network.

Funny how both the battery pack and the integrated motor/inverter are strikingly similar to those in the Model S. 😀

Well…all ICE cars are also similar.

And the wheels too. OMG, they’re round!!!!!!

I don’t think it’s really all that shocking that good design ideas proliferate throughout the world.

Anything but the Volt’s T shape battery is a step in the right direction!

Well Apple patented rounded corners on a cell phone so who knows?

Great idea I hope Tesla will have this concept.

How do they get to generation 5. I think of the i3 as Gen 1.

Unfortunately the article is in German, but you will find 1 picture with the upcoming generations

In addition, this contains a lot of detailed information on BMWs electric future.


Great link. Thanks

i3 + 1 = 5. Duh


All that is missing is Captain Obvious. What I’d like to know is why they haven’t already moved to all all electric drive trains. Just add range extenders and downsize the Battery for those who aren’t up for a full BEV. REs could be gas, diesel, NG, or FC. it gives maximum flexibility.

“62 mile PHEV” caught my eye. That’s just above the sweet spot for all-electric daily use, even in the cold.

My memory doesn’t go back to 2005, with this stuff, but i do remember “80% of drivers travel 40 miles, or less, per day”. 62 miles of range, in cold, reliably does this.

But what about the 20 mile PHEVs and the ~150 mile BEVs? Osborne effect? Maybe that’s why it was in German. Existing cars are gonna depreciate.

Universal EV building blocks. Fun! The LEGO of EV manufacturing.

I believe GM’s Nov. announcement about their new flexible EV platform with configurable battery packs, etc. to support 9 new EV’s is very similar to this – due out in 2020-2021.

Within 3 years this will be the ONLY way to remain competitive in the EV market. So far, GM, BMW, and VW (their ID flexible EV platform) are the only ones publicly stating their next generation will be are going this way. Tesla’s current S/X and M3 architectures are almost there and did pioneer the concept, but they will need a whole new architecture to full embrace this building-block approach.

Those who aren’t already through at least 2 generations of EV development under their belt have strong headwinds ahead.

Fully agree. This car is 100% achievable today – see Volt. Can’t understand why is that the T-cell Volt is the only car like this.
We have an i-MiEV for years and it does a perfect job for all our daily travels – at least 9 moths of the year in Ontario. All it needs is a “range extender” – lol.
Why is it so difficult to see? Until there is a technical breakthrough in affordable batteries to make BEVs below $30,000 with long range and really fast charging the Volt like model – with flat battery pack and more space inside for God’s sake- is a definite winner.
Toyota is selling the Prius Prime like crazy. Now imagine if they would increase the EV range to 60M/100km they would really have a winner.

Looks like their “5th generation” motor design is still considerably behind Tesla (since introduction of Model S in 2012) and Chevy Spark and Bolt designs. Both Chev and Tesla incorporate a more compact design that allows flat rear floor. BMWs bulky design means no possibility of fold flat rear seats resulting in flat to rear cargo area.

“BMWs bulky design means no possibility of fold flat rear seats resulting in flat to rear cargo area.”

Hey Roy, my i3Rex rear seats fold flat !

Which i3 are you commenting about?

I was just going by the drawing supplied by BMW as shown in the uTube video. It looked quite large, but on reviewing, I think I should retract my statement.

This looks great.

I can see how Tesla’s design DNA has pollinated the imaginations of the global auto industry.

So basically, for the past 4yrs they have really done nothing to further their EV systems, and now they slapped their heads and said, “doh, that Tesla design really rocks! Let’s just do that!”, and now in 3yrs they might have some vehicles based on this design.
Jesus wept! If a lone worker at Nissan can chop shop a Leaf and make a ute, how is it with all their resources the whole BMW group can’t flatten the floor of their M series, plug this drive line in and have a seriously good BEV ready in the next year?

This could lead to commodity packs built by the battery guys. It’d be nice if there weren’t proprietary packs using commodity cells. The whole industry could drop 25% or more in battery costs immediately if the packs were all identical.

I like the name of the man in charge of BMWs Electrification program , Stefan Jurassic. , says everything about where BMW is going.