Issue: Apr 2015


New generation behind the wheel at BMW



by Nick Palmer

In December 2014 the BMW board announced wide-ranging “generational” changes to its board of directors.

“The automotive industry is undergoing a fundamental shift. Those who want to play an active role in shaping tomorrow’s mobility need constantly to find viable solutions to future challenges. The BMW Group plans to maintain its leading role in the premium segment. To achieve this, we have to hand over responsibility to the next generation at an appropriate time,” said Prof Joachim Milberg in a statement after a meeting of the BMW Supervisory Board in Munich on December 9. Milberg (72) is the outgoing Chairman of the Supervisory Board.

As part of the “generational change” Harald Krüger (49) will become Chairman of the Board of Management with effect from the end of the Annual General Meeting on 13 May 2015. The current Chairman of the Board of Management, Dr Norbert Reithofer, will be put forward for election to the Supervisory Board at the 2015 Annual General Meeting.

BMW also announced the appointment of Klaus Fröhlich (55) to serve as its head of development with immediate effect. A mechanical engineering graduate from the Rheinisch- Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, Fröhlich joined BMW in 1987 as a development engineer in the engine division. He headed up a number of engine development teams until 2005, when he was made Head of Product Planning for all BMW Group brands. From 2007 to 2012 he was Head of Brand and Product Strategies for the group, and from 2012 until his appointment as Member of The Board of Management of BMW with responsibility for development he was head of small and mid-size series product line in the BMW Group.

Automotive Industries (AI) asked Fröhlich, what prompted the company to venture into a new vehicle segment with the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer. Fröhlich: First of all we wanted to attract people who are currently not BMW customers and who have a need for clever functionality on the one hand, and who also want to have fun on the other. So we saw potential for a new vehicle segment where we can meet the mobility requirements of young families and offer sporting dynamics combined with outstanding efficiency and the lowest CO2 emissions in the class.

AI: What is special about the car? Fröhlich: It is special because it is a BMW: It has new turbocharged engines producing from 85 kW/116 hp to 141 kW/192 hp (fuel consumption combined: 6.4 – 3.9 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 149 – 104 g/km). It has very active driving behavior, full connectivity and also the premium appearance. It has an impressive amount of space within its compact dimensions. This is the first model in the premium compact class that can accommodate up to seven people across three rows of seats – in addition to a generously sized and variableuse luggage compartment.

AI: You’ve sold almost two million units of the BMW 1 Series worldwide. What do the new line-up of the latest generation petrol and diesel engines offer customers? Fröhlich: It is a typical BMW culture - more performance and 10-20% less fuel consumption. The new line-up of petrol and diesel engines offers additional measures designed to reduce fuel consumption and emissions (fuel consumption combined: 8.0 – 3.4 liters per 100 kilometers (or 35.3 – 83.1 mpg imp); CO2 emissions combined: 188 – 89 g/km). The BMW 116d EfficientDynamics Edition, powered by a 85 kW/116 hp threecylinder engine, posts average fuel consumption of 3.4 liters/100 kilometers (83.1 mpg imp) and CO2 emissions of 89 g/km in the EU test cycle, making it the most efficient car of the BMW model range.

AI: Talking about efficiency, how do you boost efficiency and engine output using a water injection system in the BMW M4 MotoGP? Fröhlich: The principle is very simple. You know that the turbocharged engine needs to cool. Water is injected into the intake module’s collector as a fine spray, thus significantly cooling the air during vaporization. This lowers the discharge temperature in the combustion chamber and thus reduces the tendency for knocking. The turbo engine can therefore be operated with a higher charging pressure and an earlier ignition point. Normally, when you increase the performance of the turbo-charged engine you have to lower the compression. The water injection system allows temperature-related performance thresholds to be raised. In addition to increases in output and torque this innovative system provides the BMW M4 MotoGP Safety Car with excellent efficiency, bringing benefits in terms of both fuel economy under full load and reduced exhaust emissions.

AI: When are we going to see this technology in series production? Fröhlich: In the foreseeable future the principle can be applied to any turbo-charged engine.

AI: Is your electric vehicle program on track with the BMW i3 & i8? Fröhlich: I think this is an endurance run for us. We knew it from the beginning, and have been working at improving functionality while reducing costs from generation to generation of BMW electric cars. We have built up the necessary knowledge and experience, and are now bringing it into production. The i8 was a first for us. We have introduced modifications and improvements in the X5 and the 3 Series plug-in hybrids. This evolution will continue as we move into higher volumes.

AI: Are we going to see significant changes in your R&D strategy? Fröhlich: I was in Product Strategy for eight years before and have been working on all the cars and the innovations that were brought in at that time. We will continue our innovation. For me it is a new job, but with the same strategy.

AI: Where do you see the challenges? Fröhlich: There are two major challenges: The trend to provide more sustainable powertrain / electrification is one; and the other is the development of information technology for car connectivity for the customer and also for autonomous driving. These are the two challenges to come – powertrain and information technology.

AI: What can we expect in the future from BMW, Mini, and Rolls Royce? Fröhlich: Outstanding and very emotive cars. I want to give and shape every single product with a certain and distinct character. On one side we have an architecture with a lot of rear wheel drive cars, but they by all means shouldn’t be the same. For example the 2 series Coupe and the 3 Series GT are built on the same architecture, but one is a sporty, agile car and the other is very comfort orientated - same architecture but two very different characters.



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