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Hybrid Technology with Sheer Driving Pleasure: BMW X6 Active Hybrid is the World’s most powerful hybrid

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Story by Valentino Almeida

I can remember back in the Fall of2000, it was a Saturday morning and we had just opened up our doors. This is when we saw the first shipment of X5s rolling onto the lot. Who would have thought that a company that makes performance cars would be the benchmark in the SUV segment. And now once again with the introduction of the new X6 Hybrid, BMW is setting the bar high in the hybrid market as well.

My current demo is the X6 35I and it’s the best overall vehicle I have ever driven. I was very excited when they announced the X6 Hybrid because I really feel that this is the best of both worlds for power and day to dayfunctionality. The reduced fuel consumption is a real bonus. Did you know that BMW started to develop hybrid drive many years ago, long before the foundation of the Global Hybrid Cooperation? In fact, BMW tested the electric drivetrain as early as in the late 1980s. The BMW E1 is an example of this early adoption of green technologies.

In 1995, BMW presented its first hybrid vehicle based on the BMW 518i. The outstanding potential of this drive technology was proven by the BMW X5 EfficientDynamics presented in 2003 and the BMW Concept X3 EfficientDynamics which was revealed to the world in 2005. The BMW Group has been conducting research on hybrid and green technologyfor more than 15 years. The BMW X6 ActiveHybrid is the next evolution in the BMW X5 EfficientDynamics development strategy.

The BMW X6 ActiveHybrid really is the highest degree of maturity in hybrid technology thus far. BMW ActiveHybrid is far superior to conventional hybrid vehicles in terms of driving dynamics. Its fuel consumption and emission ratings are up to 20 percent better than on a comparable car with conventional drivetrain technology. BMW Active Hybrid is a particular highlight of BMW EfficientDynamics: it is the next step in the ongoing reduction offuel consumption and emissions.

BMW ActiveHybrid is based on a modular concept following the strategy of “Best of Hybrid” to integrate the most appropriate, optimum components in each case. This combination with innovative hybrid technology offers the most sporting and dynamic rendition of a BMW X vehicle. The innovative two-mode active transmission allows variable power transmission via the power split incorporating planetary gearsets. In addition, the active transmission incorporates an electric drive system and enables the vehicle to drive at fixed transmission ratios within one system.

This combines the driving dynamics and efficiency of the combustion engine and the electric drive system in an innovative, intelligent manner. There is an optimised use of energy and superior power in every situation. This new model proves that driving a more green vehicle does not mean you have to sacrifice power and performance. The innovative power transmission featured by BMW Concept X6 ActiveHybrid combines two compact, high-performance electric motors with a transmission using fixed transmission ratios.

These drive systems are connected to one another by three planetary gear sets allowing a power split covering the drive forces of the combustion engine and the electric motors in two transmission ranges and thus ensuring a level of variability quite impossible on a conventional hybrid drivetrain thanks to the combination of the two drive sources able to provide optimum power and maximum efficiency under all driving conditions and power requirements from the driver. This system is referred to as a two-mode active.

The two-mode active transmission is based on an ECVT electrical continuously variable transmission. The two operating modes, one of which has been optimised for low, the otherfor high speeds, are supplemented byfixed transmission ratios. The two power-split ECVT sections allow the drivetrain to run at continuously variable speeds and ensure full, highly efficient hybrid functions whether you are driving fast or slow. All of this also means that

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fuel consumption is reduced by up to 20 percent compared with similar BMWs running on a combustion engine alone. Although this is a two mode system, the electric motors are very compact. This facilitates their integration into the vehicle as well as a minimum increase in weight, which is lower in the case of BMW Concept X6 ActiveHybrid than with conventional hybrid cars offering comparable power. BMW ConceptX6 ActiveHybrid can be driven on electric power only, on the combustion engine alone, or with a combination of both power units. Depending on driving conditions, the electric motors may also be used for both accelerating and regenerative application of the brakes, in which case the brake forces generated when coasting and when applying the brakes flow into the high-volt energy storage unit to provide an increase in electric power.

This energy is subsequently available for further use and need not be generated by the combustion engine and is therefore available virtually free of charge. Already using this principle in a similar manner on production cars featuring Brake Energy Regeneration, BMW is able to ensure efficient energy management and maintain the battery at a high charge level. On the road, the support provided by the electric motors is referred to as “boosting”. It serves, first, to give the car incomparable spontaneity and a direct response and, second, to significantly reduce fuel consumption.

This hybrid does not lose BMW’s typical design language: superior driving dynamics are central in this Sports Activity Coupe as is a unique look. Indeed, the meticulous design of the body combines the sporting elegance of a BMW Coupe with the striking DNA of the BMW X family. The striking front view with a clear focus on the vehicle’s width provides the signature look of a BMW X car further. This is further emphasised by the extra-large BMW kidney grille that also serves as the air intake with its robust slats.

The engine compartment lid has sharp contours sub-divided by well-defined lines that taper towards the BMW kidney grille. The hood has a powerful curvature at the top—the striking BMW powerdome. Through their unique shape and design, the D-pillars provide a clear expression of power and stability. The innovative design of the rear lights, in turn, emphasizes the sheer width of the car, while horizontal lines highlight the wide track. BMW ConceptX6 ActiveHybrid proudly presents its unmistakable design through truly authentic, unique features clearlyvisible atfirst sight.

Through its look alone this car arouses the greatest expectations. The innovative philosophy of BMWX6 ActiveHybrid clearly proves that large and dynamic vehicles may also be driven economically and with a clear focus on the environment, at the same time reaching new horizons in terms of driving pleasure and aesthetic design.

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