Technology is ready for production, says BMW
12 October 2009

BMW has revealed a new concept car that gives clues towards the Project I family of electric cars planned to be on sale mid-decade.

The three-wheeler Simple concept was created inside BMW’s advanced engineering Technik facility in Munich with the aim of offering personal mobility with fuel consumption below 2l/100km, the equivalent of 120mpg.

See the hi-res BMW Simple pics

That’s the next target for fuel economy that car companies are going to have target in the next decade.

The target in the previous decade was 3l/1000km, equivalent to 90mpg, and one that future models being rolled out in the next few years will increasingly manage.

“We could build the Simple right now with the technology we have, but it is just a concept,” says project leader Sebastian Schelper.

The Simple features a below-floor 36kW petrol engine, a three-wheel layout and tandem seating for two.Other powertrains, including electric drive was explored for the project.

Schelper say that the tough fuel economy target dictated the tandem layout. “It’s the only way to get such a low fuel economy,” he says.

VW recently revealed a similar design at Frankfurt and experimented with a three-wheeler aimed at the high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes on US freeways. “The Simple would also be able to drive in HOVs,” says Schelper.

For now, though the Simple, is a dead project. Marketing decided that he tandem seating position wasn’t a practical sale-able proposition, which scuppered the design.

Created in 2008, it was never shown at a major motor show and instead has just been put on show at BMW’s Munich car museum.

Significantly, though, a detailed design and engineering dossier on the Simple has been passed to the team working on Project I and Schelper is now head of sustainability on the electric car project.

Julian Rendell

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Comments
23

12 October 2009

So basically they're saying that it's impossible to get 120mpg...

12 October 2009

[quote Nick G]So basically they're saying that it's impossible to get 120mpg...[/quote]

unless you want to 'drive' a motor bike with a roof

12 October 2009

Every year there is a competition to build vehicles capable of incredible fuel economy. Currently, competitors have an incredible 6600mpg to beat. They are 3-wheelers with a pod for the driver, and even they don't look this stupid. None of them have the 'origami' look, possibly because the designers took notice of the laws of aerodynamics rather than some new graduate designer with "ideas".

As the article says, there are already cars out there capable or delivering a real world 90mpg. Amazingly, they all look like cars rather than a rejected prop from Space 1999. I rather suspect that if some enterprising university took an original Mini, replaced the drivetrain with a small 3-cylinder turbodiesel, and swapped around things like the suspension subframes for composite items, then 120mpg would be a walk in the park. All with existing reliable technology.

12 October 2009

[quote Autocar]BMW has revealed a new concept car

[/quote]

That's not a car, it's a bike!

12 October 2009

[quote Zadster]I rather suspect that if some enterprising university took an original Mini, replaced the drivetrain with a small 3-cylinder turbodiesel, and swapped around things like the suspension subframes for composite items, then 120mpg would be a walk in the park. All with existing reliable technology.
[/quote]

You mean like what the guy who bought over the "domino" fibreglass mini was trying to do but received no support for.

12 October 2009

Looks like they got their design inspiration from an Me109

412

12 October 2009

Why do that?

It's NOT a useful 'car'. It's a waste of money, CO2 and time.

12 October 2009

[quote 412]It's NOT a useful 'car'. It's a waste of money, CO2 and time.[/quote]

It might be useful. Nine out of ten cars I see going up and down any A road have one person in them: very few have more than two. Being narrow and light makes things quick and economical - narrowness is an asset on country lanes as well as urban routes. It's more practical for commuting than a motorbike, with reasonable protection for the driver. Obviously it's no use as an only car for a family, but for commuting or personal weekend transport something in this configuration could be pretty useful.

412

12 October 2009

[quote Submariner Redux]

[quote 412]It's NOT a useful 'car'. It's a waste of money, CO2 and time.[/quote]

It might be useful. Nine out of ten cars I see going up and down any A road have one person in them: very few have more than two. Being narrow and light makes things quick and economical - narrowness is an asset on country lanes as well as urban routes. It's more practical for commuting than a motorbike, with reasonable protection for the driver. Obviously it's no use as an only car for a family, but for commuting or personal weekend transport something in this configuration could be pretty useful.

[/quote]

Get a motorbike with one of those role-over hoop/loop things then.

There's next to no crash protection in one of them.

Besides, some people like driving cars.

I wouldn't like to whoosh down a country lane in one.

12 October 2009

3 wheelers have never really taken off have they? The few that have been made have either been VERY niche or VERY laughable.... I think 4 wheels are better... but I still like the idea of a 1 person 'pod' powered by a bike engine. Would have to have an F1 car like safety cell though. Could be fun!

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