NTU receives BMW i3 and BMW i8 as research platforms

Singapore 06.30.2015 – BMW Group and Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) today launched a new electromobility research programme, involving the all-electric BMW i3 and plug-in hybrid sports car BMW i8 that runs on electricity and petrol.

This new research programme will be conducted at the Future Mobility Research Lab located on the NTU campus, which is the BMW Group’s first joint lab in Southeast Asia.

Both parties will be injecting a combined S$1.3 million to drive the new research projects, on top of the initial S$5.5 million funding allocated to the joint lab in 2013.

The new research programme will focus on two new areas, Electromobility in Asia and also Smart Materials. This is in addition to the original three research topics that the joint lab is working on: Advanced Battery, Driver Enhancement and Intelligent Mobility.

At the launch ceremony today at NTU, the BMW Group announced that the BMW i3 and BMW i8 will be provided as research platforms to the Future Mobility Research Lab.

The ceremony was graced by Mr Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State at Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry; Mr Volker Bouffier, Prime Minister of the Federal State of Hesse and President of the German Bundesrat; and His Excellency, Dr Michael Witter, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Singapore.

The scientists at the joint lab will use the two BMW i vehicles to conduct research on real-life driver behaviour and to collect in-depth data on vehicle performance. The two cars will also conduct on-road trials of new technologies such as a mobile application that can accurately predict traffic and estimated end-to-end travelling time.

Mr. Axel Pannes, Managing Director of BMW Group Asia said: “We are very satisfied with our partnership with NTU and the establishment of the Future Mobility Research Lab, thanks to the high level of competency from NTU’s research staff and interdisciplinary teams.”

“Through the relentless efforts of the dedicated researchers, we have already made some important findings through the earlier research topics in a short period of just two years. With the expanded research scope on Electromobility in Asia and Smart Materials, more invaluable knowledge will be gained by both parties. Further, the knowledge will also be transferred to Singapore’s academia and broaden their technical understanding of modern full-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. It will definitely forge a stronger technological partnership between the BMW Group and NTU,” added Mr. Pannes.

Professor Lam Khin Yong, NTU’s Chief of Staff and Vice President (Research), said the new research programme will build on the research successes of the NTU-BMW joint lab.

“The new research programme will further exploit the synergy between BMW Group’s leadership and expertise in automotive sciences and NTU’s leading research in sustainability and clean technologies. The NTU-BMW joint lab has already made important advancements in areas such as new battery materials that can extend the range of an electric vehicle and innovative driver assistive technologies to greatly enhance safety.”

“NTU is one of the eight top universities across the globe that BMW has established a strategic partnership with. The BMW i3 and i8 will be used by BMW and NTU scientists to develop and test innovative technologies in real-life conditions and this new research programme extends NTU’s efforts in developing future mobility solutions with global impact,” said Prof Lam.

Mr Volker Bouffier, Prime Minister of the Federal State of Hesse and President of the German Bundesrat, said: “The new electromobility research programme launched by NTU and BMW emphasises the strong and fruitful bilateral relations between Germany and Singapore in the fields of research.

ertainly the programme will further strengthen the ties on each side. Thus, to study and develop key areas which relate to future transportation will be a crucial factor on our way to a modern globalised world based on sustainable development.”

Mr Tan Kong Hwee, Director, Transport Engineering, Singapore Economic Development Board, said: “BMW’s partnership with NTU for the set-up of its Future Mobility Lab is testament to the increasing interest in urban mobility and Singapore’s attractiveness for the conduct of research and development in this area.”

Electromobility in Asia
The main goal of embarking on the Electromobility in Asia project is to find out how drivers interact with BMW i vehicles in real life, so as to better understand user behaviours and to improve electric and plug-in hybrid technology for the future.

By conducting the research in Singapore, a densely-populated, urban city state, it will enable researchers in the joint lab to gain insights on how electric vehicles can be made more relevant for global megacities. Other study topics include how emerging technologies like fast charging, wireless charging and smart assistant driving technologies will impact the consumer.

Smart Materials
With today’s proliferation of touchscreen interfaces being used increasingly in vehicles, there is a need to study how these touchscreen surfaces can be made more tactile.

Through research in various shape memory materials and dielectric polymers, scientists will look at developing technologies which can enable buttons to appear on interactive surfaces and touch screens when needed.

Mr Pannes added that Singapore is the perfect venue for the BMW Group to conduct research on electromobility.

“In Singapore, the second most densely populated country in the world, we anticipate that electric vehicles with its zero tailpipe emissions and exhaust fumes will be a key player in the transportation network of the future. The city-state also has high connectivity and a tech-savvy population, which makes it more receptive towards new cutting-edge technology. Further, we believe Singapore has the potential to become a R&D hub for electromobility, especially with its clearly expressed ambitions to become a Smart Nation. We want to play a contributive role in that,” said Mr Pannes.

Future Mobility Research Lab breakthroughs
The Future Mobility Research Lab, set up in April 2013, aims to research and develop key areas relating to future transportation, which includes Advanced Battery, Driver Enhancement, and Intelligent Mobility.

After two years of intensive research, the Future Mobility Research Lab has made some significant findings in the following areas:

Advanced Battery
New battery materials are being experimented on, such as high-voltage cathodes and anodes (the positive and negative poles of a battery), which can potentially double the energy density, which is important in extending the range of an electric car as well as enable faster charging times.

Driver Enhancement
Current sensor technologies are able to tell if a driver is sleepy or alert and if the vehicle is on a collision course with another vehicle, based on the speed and direction it is travelling. However, the sensor systems are independent of each other, and does not take into account the driver’s present condition and adjust to it.

A driver enhancement system is now being developed to adapt to the driver’s condition, to either increase or decrease the number of assistance technologies deployed to help the driver. It is based on parameters such as whether the driver is alert or sleepy, if he/she is paying attention to the road, and if traffic conditions around the vehicle is congested or sparse.

Intelligent Mobility
A mobile application has been developed which can better predict the traffic conditions and accurately estimate arrival time at the destination. This app is based on an intelligent routing system that calculates individual driving style and current traffic situation based on real-time traffic information. It also has a parking search system that analyses the parking situation around the destination.

BMW Team RLL survives to finish third as rain reigns in Watkins Glen – BMW leads GTLM class.

Munich (DE), 29th June 2015. Bill Auberlen (US) and Dirk Werner (DE) drove the number 25 BMW Z4 GTLM to a third place finish in a very wet “Six Hours of the Glen” on Sunday. The duo completed 157 laps of the 3.4-mile, 11-turn Watkins Glen International circuit (US) with the race slowed by eight caution periods and red flagged for 14 minutes during the worst downpour. The race ended behind the BMW M4 Safety Car during the last yellow flag with the GTLM victory going to the Porsche of Wolf Henzler (DE) and Bryan Sellers (US).

The BMW duo’s third podium finish of the season, including a win at Long Beach (US), moves Auberlen and Werner to the top of the GTLM driver points standings, and keeps BMW at the top of the GTLM manufacturer points standings.

The day ended in disappointment for the number 24 BMW Z4 GTLM of John Edwards (US) and Lucas Luhr (DE) as Edwards was caught out by the slick conditions on lap 77, spinning into the tyre wall entering the heading into the “boot” section and was retired from the race.

The race started with Auberlen in the number 25 BMW Z4 GTLM and Edwards in the number 24 car from the second and third class grid positions, which were decided on current championship positions after qualifying was cancelled due to heavy rain. Auberlen spun on the opening lap due to the rainy conditions and fell to the rear of the class. In the opening stint Edwards moved into the lead on lap 36 and Auberlen recovered to fourth. Both pitted ten laps later for Luhr and Werner to take over. Edwards was back in the umber 24 on lap 76, but went off on the next lap and the car was retired.

By mid-race the rain was in control of the race and with two hours to go the entire field was racing on wet tyres. As the conditions deteriorated the race was red flagged for 14 minutes with one-hour-and-28-minutes remaining. Auberlen was in the car for the final laps, and with 30 minutes to go he had moved into second place. He survived the difficult final minutes as the rain poured down causing the track to be extremely slick, affecting the car’s electronics and causing the engine to shut off intermittently. He lost second on lap 151 and was unable to get the position back as the race ended under a full course yellow.

Bobby Rahal (Team Principal, BMW Team RLL):

“It was a tough day and tough conditions. We had a little electrical glitch with the number 25 car, which caused us to lose second place right there at the end. The weather conditions made it difficult. It is a shame we lost the 24 car. All in all, another podium and the lead in both the manufacturers’ and drivers’ championship.”

Bill Auberlen (No. 25 BMW Z4 GTLM, 3rd place):

“That was a tough one. From the get go we were on pretty hard compound dries, and it sort of sprinkled and it looked like our car hated that combination – sprinkling and a medium tire we were out to lunch. Then the track would dry, you would come to the front, sprinkle and we would go back. On rains it was just the opposite. When we put the Michelin rains on I went right to the front. We beat everyone we needed to beat in the points and we are moving forward and that is all we wanted to do. I had an ignition issue with so much rain and my motor shut off coming out of the carousel, and that is how the Porsche got by me for second.”

Dirk Werner (No. 25 BMW Z4 GTLM, 3rd place):

“That was one of the most difficult races I have been in. It was a little bit like a Nürburgring feeling where the weather conditions really had a lot of surprises for us. We were out on a dry track and then out on slicks in the wet. Today everything was about staying in the race. Bill did a great job keeping the car on the road in the wet. I did my best and in the end I think we can all be happy with this podium. The car had a very good pace and it is very enjoyable to have a car like this BMW Z4 GTLM, which shows a good performance. So far we have had a very good season with quite a few podiums, and I have enjoyed it a lot so far.”

John Edwards (No. 24 BMW Z4 GTLM, DNF):

“It was a very disappointing end to a promising day. We were quick in the dry, and quick in the wet. I think the only conditions we struggled with were when we had some drizzle and were on slicks, but in most conditions we could go really fast. Regarding the incident, I don’t have much to say. The car snapped really quick and we checked the data quickly, but didn’t see anything obvious from the car side. I was facing the wall before I even knew anything was happening, so maybe there was the chance there were some weepers or something on the track, but whatever happened the end result was the same we are out of the race. We probably had the best car in the race and the best chance to win.”

Lucas Luhr (No. 24 BMW Z4 GTLM, DNF):

“To be honest it was a very disappointing day, just because I think we had a very strong car in both wet and dry conditions, and normally I think with a car like this you could win, but we didn’t even finish the race. This is very, very disappointing, not only for me personally as a driver, but I think also for the whole team and for BMW. If you get a chance like this in a championship that is so close you have got to take it. On the bright side, we know we have a very strong package, our BMW Z4 GTLM is mega, and really I have so much fun driving it. If you ask me now what I would do to make it better I cannot tell you, so that is a good thing. Our sister car at least got on the podium, but for the next race we need to get our heads together and take the opportunity which has been given to us.”

BMW Motorsport News

DTM: Wittmann cashes in his present – 158 laps in a Formula One car.
A childhood dream came true for Marco Wittmann (DE) in Spielberg (AT) on Wednesday, when he took part in a Formula One test for Scuderia Toro Rosso. In good conditions, the 2014 DTM champion completed 158 laps of the 4.326-kilometre Red Bull Ring in the STR10, making him the hardest-working driver of the test day, at which the other Formula One teams were also in action. The Formula One test was a gift from BMW Motorsport and premium partner Red Bull to mark his title-winning season in the DTM.

Three questions for … Marco Wittmann.

Marco, how did you feel on your way to this test – and how do you feel now, on your way home?
Marco Wittmann: “There was a lot of anticipation coming into the day. I was very relaxed about the whole thing, as I was not under any pressure. I took everything in my stride without too much expectation. Now that the day is over, I feel fantastic. I did an awful lot of laps and made the very most of my test. Both the team and I are very happy with the results of the test. That was a fantastic experience, for which I would like to say another big thank you to BMW Motorsport, Red Bull and Scuderia Toro Rosso. The team made me very welcome and I felt right at home.”

158 laps is the equivalent of more than two races. That speaks volumes for the fitness levels of a DTM driver…
Wittmann: “I think our levels of fitness are outstanding. And I really noticed that today. I had slight problems with my neck, but other than that I feel good. Prior to the test, Timo Glock gave me a few tips on how to prepare, and I underwent a special training for my neck. That definitely paid off.”

In which areas did you notice the biggest differences and the biggest similarities between a Formula One car and the BMW M4 DTM?
Wittmann: “The biggest difference you notice is definitely the acceleration. The high torque of the Formula One car, together with its light weight, makes for a huge amount of drive. Even in the higher gears, I sometimes had wheelspin. The braking is also completely different to in a DTM car, due to the hybrid drive’s energy recovery system. The cornering speeds were surprisingly similar. It is here that you realise just how much downforce the BMW M4 DTM generates. It has no need to hide behind the Formula One car in that respect. All in all, I really enjoyed this experience, but am looking forward to getting back in the BMW M4 DTM.”

DTM: Special test for the BMW M Performance Parts M4 DTM.
The BMW M Performance Parts M4 DTM is put to the test at every race. However, Martin Tomczyk (DE) has now put his racing car through a very special inspection. In BMW Motorsport’s latest YouTube video, “The Duel”, the BMW Team Schnitzer driver and his car were subjected to a general and exhaust inspection by DEKRA – the same inspection that every road-going BMW model must regularly undergo. The 1:35-minute clip sees Tomczyk pull slowly into the workshop in the BMW M Performance Parts M4 DTM, before he revs up the engine and lets the wheels spin, creating so much smoke that the inspectors can hardly see their hands in front of their faces. Do Tomczyk and the BMW M Performance Parts M4 DTM pass the inspection? Check it out for yourself. The video “The Duel” is available now on the BMW Motorsport YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/d1Hyt-P5p6k

DTM: Lebenshilfe Landshut visits the BMW DTM teams at the Norisring.
The BMW DTM teams, in Nürnberg (DE) for the third race weekend of the DTM season, received a special visit on Saturday: a group of 20 from the charity Lebenshilfe Landshut were guests at the Norisring (DE). The organisation has been supporting disabled people for almost 50 years. The idea to visit the DTM came from Willibald Löw, Member of the Supervisory Board BMW AG and Chairman of the Works Council, Landshut Plant. He has been involved on the board of Lebenshilfe Landshut for many years. “In the Lebenshilfe workshops, we are forever seeing how great the passion and enthusiasm is for BMW and BMW Motorsport. Hence the idea of visiting a DTM race together,” said Löw. BMW Motorsport made sure the fans from Landshut enjoyed an unforgettable day at the Norisring. The programme was drawn up in cooperation with BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt. BMW works driver Jens Klingmann (DE) showed the guests around the team garages, while Marquardt welcomed the group to the BMW Motorsport Hospitality and took time out to sign autographs.

BTCC: Successful weekend for West Surrey Racing in Croft.
The three West Surrey Racing drivers enjoyed a successful race weekend in Croft (GB) in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC). Sam Tordoff (GB) claimed pole and BMW works driver Andy Priaulx (GB) qualified second to ensure the BMW 125i M Sport monopolised the front row. Their team-mate Rob Collard (GB) started from fourth to round off a dream qualifying result. In race one, the trio took full advantage of theirstart positions, with Priaulx coming home first ahead of Tordoff and Collard to complete a BMW one-two-three. Tordoff finished runner-up in race two to earn his second podium of the weekend, while Priaulx and Collard came home fourth and sixth. In race three, it was Collard’s turn to celebrate as the winner on the top step of the podium. Priaulx completed the 1-2 in finishing second, Tordoff was sixth. “What an amazing day for all of us,” said Priaulx after this historic success for the WSR squad.

USCC: Front row start for BMW Team RLL.
Qualifying for the fifth round of the United SportsCar Championship (USCC) at Watkins Glen (US) in New York state, the “Six Hours of the Glen”, had to be cancelled on Saturday afternoon due to atrocious weather conditions. The rain was so heavy that the standing water would have made any track action dangerous. Due to this, the grid was decided according to the driver championship points standings. This means that the number 25 BMW Z4 GTLM of Bill Auberlen (US) and Dirk Werner (DE) started second in class and the number 24 BMW Team RLL sister car of John Edwards (US) and Lucas Luhr (DE) third. The Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 GTD of Michael Marsal (US) and Markus Palttala (FI) started from eighth on its class grid. The race is still on.

FIA Formula E Championship: Nelson Piquet Jr. is the first ever champion.
The BMW i8 Safety Car and the BMW i3 Medical Car have made the final stop on their 2014/15 world tour: the final round of the inaugural season of the FIA Formula E Championship was held in London (GB) this weekend. BMW is “Official Vehicle Partner” of the racing series for purely electric single-seater cars. First ever champion of the FIA Formula E Championship is Nelson Piquet Jr. The Brazilian secured the title in a dramatic Finale. After finishing the two races of the “London ePrix” in fifth and seventh, Piquet Jr. had an advantage of one point over Sébastien Buemi (CH), who was second overall. The victories in the two London races went to Buemi and Sam Bird (GB).

CTSCC: Season’s best result for Fall-Line Motorsports.
Ashley Freiberg (US) and BMW Motorsport Junior Trent Hindman (US) drove the number 46 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3 to a season’s best second place Grand Sport class finish in Saturday’s rain-soaked two and a half hour Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSCC) race at Watkins Glen International (US). Freiberg started the race from her eighth place qualifying position and raced as high as third during her stint. Hindman moved up to second, but was unable to challenge for the win as the race was red flagged because of the wet conditions with some thirty minutes remaining, ultimately ending behind the BMW M4 safety car under the caution flag. Terry Borcheller (US) and Mike LaMarra (US), driving the number 23 Burton Racing BMW 128i, were the top-finishing BMW drivers in the Street Tuner class in eighth place. The race was won by the Chevrolet Camaro of Andrew Davis (US) and Robin Liddell (GB).

USCC: BMW M6 GT3 makes its first public appearance in North American at Watkins Glen.
BMW Motorsport added something very special to the “Six Hours of the Glen” event at Watkins Glen International (US). The fifth round of the United SportsCar Championship (USCC) saw the new BMW M6 GT3 racing car make its first public appearance in North America. Exhibited along with a BMW M235i Racing, a 1975 BMW 3.0 CSL and a McLaren F1 GTR, as well as a number of road cars, the BMW display of past, present and future was extremely well received.

Pirelli World Challenge: Turner Motorsport in action in Road America.
A Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3 was in Pirelli World Challenge competition at Road America (US), in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, this weekend. Bill Ziegler (US), driving the number 95 BMW Z4 GT3, finished ninth in the GTA class in Friday’s round 11 sprint race and improved to finish sixth in Saturday’s round 12 event.