The drive units, targeting electric vehicles, will be based on BMW Group’s “Gen 5” eDrive technology.
By Murray Slovick, Contributing Editor
As the automotive industry tackles the significant technological challenges of autonomous driving, vehicle connectivity, and electrification, cooperation between car manufacturers willing to share know-how and resources is becoming extremely important. And that’s the plan at BMW Group and Jaguar Land Rover, both confirming that they’re joining forces to develop “next-generation” drive units for future EVs.
BMW and Jaguar Land Rover both bring considerable experience developing and producing several generations of electric drive units.; BMW launched its electric i3 in 2013 and Jaguar Land Rover demonstrated its capability with this technology through the launch of the 2019 Jaguar I-Pace, an all-electric SUV boasting up to 234-mile range and 4.5-second 0- to 60-mph acceleration.
The BMW Group’s electrified technology features an electric motor, transmission, and power electronics contained in one housing. This electric motor doesn’t require rare earth materials, enabling BMW to reduce its dependence on their availability as the firm continues to broaden its range of electrified models.
Gen 5 eDrive
Starting next year, the BMW Group will introduce the fifth generation (“Gen 5”) of its eDrive technology, with the BMW iX3 Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) due to go on sale next year. The Gen 5 electric drive unit will be the propulsion system upon which subsequent evolutions launched together with Jaguar Land Rover will be based. The BMW iX3 will be the first model produced for the entire global market by the BMW Brilliance Automotive Joint Venture at its production location in Shenyang, China.
The fifth-generation electric motor developed for the iX3 SAV will generate a maximum output of more than 200 kW/270 hp. In addition, according to BMW, the Gen 5 electric drive system will include new and more powerful batteries. The model-specific high-voltage battery will have a net capacity of more than 70 kWh, which is enough to give the electric SAV a range of up to 400 km (249 miles) based on the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP, used to measure fuel consumption, CO2, and pollutant emissions from passenger cars).
Another feature of the high-voltage battery is its optimized charging capability. The energy storage system has a newly developed charging control unit (CCU) and is designed to be hooked up to fast-charging stations generating up to 150 kW. The high-voltage battery can be charged in just 30 minutes from one of these stations, according to the company.
The cooperation allows the BMW Group and Jaguar Land Rover to take advantage of cost efficiencies arising from shared development of future evolutions and production planning costs, as well as economies of scale from joint purchasing.
A joint team of BMW Group and Jaguar Land Rover experts located in Munich will be tasked with further developing the Gen 5 power units, with production of the electric drivetrains to be undertaken by each partner in their own manufacturing facilities. Both companies will seek to adhere to their own brand-specific propositions in any project.
“The automotive industry is undergoing a steep transformation. We see collaboration as a key for success, also in the field of electrification,” said Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG With Jaguar Land Rover. “We found a partner whose requirements for the future generation of electric drive units significantly matches ours. Together, we have the opportunity to cater more effectively for customer needs by shortening development time and bringing vehicles and state-of-the-art technologies more rapidly to market.”
Along with the BMW iX3, the company is planning to launch the BMW i4, an all-electric sedan with a top speed of over 200 km/h, and the BMW iNEXT, an all-electric crossover designed for Level 3 automated driving, in 2021.