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Section: Efficiency

BMW & MINI to Develop its Own Electric Engines

MotoringFile Sections: Efficiency, Technology Apr 11th, 2011 4 Comments

With BMW’s first consumer electric car the MINI E, it wasn’t a BMW powerplant but an AC Propulsion unit that produced power. However it looks like BMW and MINI will be taking electric engine development in house. At last week’s Innovation Days in Munich BMW announced that it will be working on full electric and hybrid drivetrains in house as it allows for better integration within other BMW Group components.

Official Release: Targeted electrification of current BMW and MINI models is today already contributing towards the efficiency advantage achieved in all relevant vehicle segments. The number of electrically powered vehicle components has been consistently increased within the framework of Efficient Dynamics. Examples of this are the electromechanical power steering system, which is still unique in many segments, as well as on-demand electrical actuation of numerous ancillary components. These systems no longer obtain their power supply directly from the combustion engine. Hence fuel consumption is lowered and the energy contained in the fuel utilised to a greater extent to enhance driving dynamics. continued →

BMW & PSA Announce New Joint Venture to Produce Hybrids

MotoringFile Sections: Efficiency, Official News Feb 2nd, 2011 12 Comments

2011 MINI Countryman

No this isn’t the first time we’ve read an official press release on this topic. But now BMW and PSA feel compelled to talk a bit more about their plans. While some of these goals in may sound a bit lofty, the simpler view is that two companies are coming together to share a hybrid powerplant. More specifically we believe the powerplant will be based on the four cylinder Prince engine (we’d guess the Cooper model). BMW and PSA have tasked two of their largest suppliers (Bosch and Getrag) to carry out the engineering and design of the hybrid system. And yes it’s destined for the US market.

We expect the first fruits of this agreement to show up in Countryman and Countryman based models around the 2014 model year.

Official Release: The BMW Group and PSA Peugeot Citroën have decided to enter into a new phase of their collaboration, by signing an agreement to set up a 50-50 equity joint venture named BMW Peugeot Citroën Electrification. The agreement was signed on February 1st by Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, and Philippe Varin, Chairman of the Managing Board of PSA Peugeot Citroën. In October 2010, the two companies had signed a Memorandum of Understanding designed to expand their existing cooperation to hybrid systems. continued →

MINI USA Says No to Diesels But Yes to Improved Efficiency

MotoringFile Sections: Diesel, Efficiency, GXX MINI City Car, R56 (Hatch), R57 (Conv.), R60 (Countryman) Jan 23rd, 2011 20 Comments

You likely read last week in our interview with MINI USA Product Manager Vinnie Kung. But we wanted to go over the decision and talk about what the broader picture of MINI’s engine line-up in the US.

First off MINI will clearly be without a diesel in the line-up in the US. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be alternatives. But before we get to that let’s recap what was said in the interview. MINI USA had planned on bringing over the Cooper D for the 2010 model year as early as 2007. The plan was to use the engine without urea injection until 2015 when new EPA rules would go into effect. However the 2008 worldwide economic collapse brought some unfortunately realities to BMW and all non-essential projects were cancelled.

Fast forward to 2009 and MINI USA was once again ready to get started selling diesels. However a new problem emerged when the EPA moved up a key date for cleaner emissions and thus urea injection became a mandatory. MINI USA investigated the idea and talked to everyone with the design and manufacturing process. The answer wasn’t pretty. The cost would be staggering considering the body in white would have to be altered to make room for the urea injection system. Once again the plan was shelved.

As we enter 2011 MINI USA is offering two petrol powered 1.6L engines with solid efficiency and good performance. But we all know that the MPG numbers both achieve will look antiquated in a few years. MINI and BMW knows this and engineers are busy within Germany working on the next generation of MINI powerplants. continued →

MotoringFile Interview: MINI Engineering Head Oliver Friedman & MINI USA Product Manager Vinnie Kung

MotoringFile Sections: Diesel, Efficiency, Faults & Fixes, Podcast, R60 (Countryman), R61 (Paceman) Jan 11th, 2011 11 Comments

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Todd and I sat down with head of MINI Engineering Oliver Friedman and MINI USA Product Manager Vinnie Kung today at NAIAS 2011. We hit all the topics as requested:

  • Paceman
  • JCW (lack and standard equippment
  • Hot turbos and engine issues
  • 3 Cylinders
  • Stop/Start tech
  • Clean diesels

In short we didn’t hold back on the tough questions. But we also had a great time chatting with two people that are clearly passionate about the MINI brand. continued →


EPA Report: 2011 MINI Cooper Most Fuel Efficient Car In Its Class

MotoringFile Sections: Efficiency, In the Press Nov 12th, 2010 11 Comments

New figures from the EPA confirm that the MINI Cooper remains one of the most fuel-efficient cars you can own. It’s tops in its class and right in there with the best performers from its surrounding car classes as well. See the numbers and get the full PDF after the break. continued →

MINI Diesels Avoid London Congestion Charges

MotoringFile Sections: Efficiency, MINI E, Official News Oct 28th, 2010 7 Comments

For the unfamiliar on this side of the Atlantic, the city of London tries to keep traffic congestion down in the heart of the city by charging certain kinds of vehicles a Congestion Charge of as much as £10 a day to be in certain areas of the city. However, if you drive a high-efficiency or zero-emission vehicle such as a hybrid or a MINI E, the charge is waived. The good news for MINI One D and Cooper D owners is that London mayor Boris Johnson has just announced revamped Congestion Charge regulations that now count these high-efficiency MINIs as exempt from Congestion Charges starting in January 2011. Given the numbers, it’s not surprising why. continued →


BMW Considering Two-Cylinder Engines?

MotoringFile Sections: Efficiency, Rumor Oct 26th, 2010 29 Comments

Dr. Klaus Draeger is the man in charge of development at BMW. We’re filing this under rumor for now, but in a recent interview with the German magazine Auto, Motor und Sport he eluded to the possibility of two-cylinder engines in small BMWs and even future MINIs. First the what, then the why. According to Dr. Draeger, the sweet spot for a small power plant of this type would be about 500cc per cylinder with a target horsepower of 80-100 hp. That’s not a particularly tall order given what BMW can do with motorcycles. For example, a BMW F 800 ST sport touring bike is squeezing 85 reliable horsepower out of just .798 liters of opposed twin. At the other end of the performance spectrum, the .999 liter BMW S 1000 RR four-cylinder is blasting an amazing 193 hp. continued →

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MINI Model Cheat Sheet

1st Gen MINI
R50: One & MC Hatch
R52: All 1st Gen MINI Convt.
R53: MCS Hatch
2nd Gen MINI
R55: Clubman
R56: Hatch
R57: Convertible
R58: Coupe
R59: Roadster
R60: MINI Crossover
R61: MINI Crossover Coupe
3rd Gen MINI
F54: Clubman
F55: Five Door Hatch
F56: Hatch
F57: Convertible
F60: MINI Crossover
F58: Traveller

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