BMW’s performance-oriented M cars are set to get electrified, starting with hybrid gas-electric drivetrains before moving to full battery-electric propulsion, reports Auto Express.
In an early January interview with BMW M boss Frank Van Meel at this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, it was revealed the move to electric M cars is considered inevitable.
“It will happen, but the question is when is that going to happen. Currently we still have a power-to-weight issue with electrification which makes that difficult to fit into a motorsports philosophy,” said Meel.
When BMW M cars first receive hybridized electrification, the drivetrain will be engineered to focus on performance, not efficiency. Given the negative impact of heavy battery packs on vehicle dynamics, the M Division will first try to compensate for the handicap of the added weight by injecting as much torque and additional power into the vehicle’s acceleration as possible.
It all boils down to timing, according to Meel, who says BMW is closely watching the development of battery technology in order to determine when it would be appropriate to incorporate electrification into M cars with a net positive impact on overall performance.
“Of course we are in close contact with the Project i group looking into [the] next generation of cell technologies, electric motors, weight and cooling systems to figure when is the right time to make the next step,” concluded Meel.