Platform sharing: BMW’s Cluster Structure

0 5


Like many carmakers, BMW has dedicated to electrifying a big side of its product portfolio within the subsequent 10-15 years.

However BMW has solely dedicated to making sure 50 per cent of its automobile gross sales are totally electrical by 2030, at the same time as Mercedes-Benz says it’ll solely promote EVs by 2030 – at the least where market conditions allow, giving them an out in markets that don’t have the required infrastructure.

Likewise, Audi says it’ll stop producing inside combustion engines by 2033 as a part of its Vorsprung 2030 technique, although it might continue to offer them in China beyond this date.

Different premium manufacturers like Volvo and Cadillac have set agency 2030 cut-offs for combustion energy, which makes BMW seem much more conservative.

BMW’s selections round electrification are a part of its broader ‘Energy of Selection’ technique, the place the Bavarian model has dedicated to introducing electrified variations of each mannequin line in its vary, whereas additionally retaining combustion-powered alternate options.

The corporate argues that, as a number of powertrain options will proceed to co-exist within the foreseeable future, it’s prudent to permit clients to decide on the choice that most closely fits their wants.

One of many methods by which BMW helps energy of selection effectively is thru its CLAR platform structure. Quick for Cluster Structure, BMW designed this platform to help combustion engines (together with mild-hybrid), plug-in hybrid and full battery electrical powertrains, and intends to make use of it for all rear and all-wheel-drive drivetrains.

Virtually, because of this all new BMWs from the 2 Series Coupé upwards make use of the CLAR platform. In the meantime, smaller front-wheel drive BMWs, together with the 1 Series hatch, and X1 and X2, use the UKL (Untere Klasse or ‘decrease class’) platform and its derivatives.

The iX is one exception to this rule, with BMW claiming that it’s constructed on a bespoke electrical platform, that nonetheless stays extremely appropriate with CLAR.

However at the same time as BMW avoids setting an finish date for combustion engines, it’s readying a next-generation “electric-first” structure to succeed CLAR.

Temporary historical past

The primary mannequin within the BMW lineup to transition to the CLAR platform was the flagship G11 7 Sequence sedan, which launched in 2015.

Beforehand often called ‘35up’ earlier than being renamed to CLAR, this technology of 7 Series featured a ‘carbon core’ physique constructed from a mix of carbon-fibre, aluminium and metal, with the Bavarian model claiming that this development allowed for a light-weight but extremely inflexible construction.

In some methods, BMW’s CLAR shares some similarities to the CMF (Common Module Family) architecture of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. Fairly than a common chassis that’s extensible between sure hardpoints, BMW refers to clusters.

Every of those clusters acts as a sub-module that comprises a group of elements, which, in flip, will be adjusted extra extensively to swimsuit the automobile being designed.

CLAR additionally permits for better flexibility within the supplies used to construct a automobile, with mixtures involving metal, aluminium and carbon-fibre (as hinted at by the 7 Sequence above) all attainable.

Though cheaper fashions within the BMW lineup didn’t use the identical carbon core development that the 7 Sequence did, the character of CLAR has allowed BMW to roll it out comparatively rapidly throughout the vast majority of the mannequin vary, with new generations of different fashions transitioning to it between 2016 (G30 5 Series sedan) and 2021 (G42 2 Sequence coupé).

Energy of selection

Flexibility of powertrain is a key good thing about BMW’s CLAR. To streamline manufacturing additional, for combustion engines BMW has correspondingly developed a modular engine household, the place every cylinder/piston mixture has a displacement of 500cc, throughout a spread of inline three, 4 and 6 cylinder engines.

This implies the vast majority of BMWs bought with combustion engines immediately function displacements of 1.5-litres (with the diesel variant denoted as B37, while its petrol counterpart is named the B38), 2.0-litres (B47/B48) and three.0-litres (B57/B58). BMW’s high-performance M Division, in flip, makes a particular model of the B58 often called the S58, to be used in fashions resembling the most recent M3 and M4 Competition.

One exception to this rule are BMW’s V8 engines, with the model persevering with to make a bespoke 4.4-litre S68 engine separate from this modular household, to be used in fashions resembling the brand new 760i xDrive and the X7 M60i.

With BMW’s fifth-generation eDrive powertrains, the model additionally claims that key EV parts that can be utilized with CLAR, resembling motors, energy electronics, batteries and related elements, have additionally adopted a modular, scalable technique, and have been packaged in a fashion that permits them to be fitted throughout the CLAR lineup.

For instance, the fifth-generation eDrive ‘drive unit’ integrates the motor, transmission and system electronics inside a single compact housing, and will be scaled to supply anyplace from 90kW of energy to greater than 300kW (as per autos resembling the brand new BMW i4 M50).

The identical scalable method additionally applies with battery modules and packs, to ultimately help autos with a claimed vary of as much as 700km.

A key good thing about BMW’s capability to combine a number of powertrains into CLAR are the economies of scale and logistical advantages derived from utilizing the identical manufacturing line.

For instance, the 4-Sequence Gran Coupé and the electrical i4 will be constructed alongside one another, while the iX3 is equally constructed alongside typical X3 fashions in China (observe that for the Australian market, the iX3 is sourced from China, while combustion-engined X3 fashions are sourced from South Africa or the US).

Creating electrical autos from this base is significantly completely different to the extra experimental, bespoke method BMW took with the lately discontinued i3.

What’s subsequent?

BMW fashions primarily based on CLAR are prone to be in manufacturing past 2025 at minimal. Nonetheless, BMW has introduced that it’ll launch its next-generation ‘Neue Klasse’ structure in the same year.

Named after the Neue Klasse fashions launched through the Nineteen Sixties (such because the 1600 sedan) that revived BMW’s fortunes, BMW initially designed Neue Klasse to additionally work with combustion engines, earlier than altering course earlier this 12 months and stating that preliminary fashions launched on this structure could be battery-electric solely.

Regardless, the Bavarian model claims that Neue Klasse fashions will convey vital advances in every little thing from EV drivetrains to inside expertise. BMW has confirmed that the primary fashions to launch on this platform will likely be a BMW 3 Sequence-sized sedan and an X3-sized SUV.

The newest rumours recommend that Neue Klasse can even see BMW switching from prismatic cells, to ‘4680’ (46mm diameter and 80mm top) cylindrical cells as being examined by Tesla.

Source link

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.