Turbochargers, a recuperation-capable brake system, sensors for tire pressure monitoring, and steering systems: Continental supplies more than 50 different components and systems for the BMW i8 that make the new i-model series environmentally friendlier, safer, and more comfortable.
The high-performance turbocharger of the 1.5-litre three-cylinder combustion engine for the rear wheel drive of the BMW i8 comes from the Continental technology corporation. The combination of direct injection with high-efficiency exhaust-gas turbocharging facilitates a high specific performance with low consumption and reduced CO2 emissions. The charger with a steel housing features an outstanding power/weight ratio and facilitates the 231 HP drive. Its noise performance is designed for the sporty hybrid car, and it can also withstand exhaust temperatures of over 1,000°C. Its dynamic behaviour in switching between the different load conditions sets a benchmark.
Continental also supplies the brake system MK 100 ESC Premium Hybrid, which has been specially developed to support recuperation in hybrid and electric vehicles. During braking, the vehicle’s kinetic energy is recovered as electrical energy to charge the battery. In addition to the brake, the electronic stability control (ESC including ABS and traction control) is integrated into this system to make car driving environmentally friendlier and safer.
In addition, it offers i8 driver assistance and safety functions such as additional braking support in dangerous situations (emergency brake assist) as well as an assist for starting up on inclines. Continental also provides the actuator and interface for the dynamic cruise control function, which keeps the required speed when driving downhill, for example. Different driver experience modes facilitate sporty dynamic driving with more leeway while the ESC controls the directional stability.
Passive Safety System
A passive safety system from Continental is also used. This is called pedestrian protection system pressure SATellite, (PPS pSAT), and was originally developed to protect pedestrians. This system consists of a flexible, air-filled hose and two standardized pressure sensors (pSAT) attached to the end of the hose. The pressure that arises in the event of a collision is exerted on the hose integrated in the vehicle front. This results in a typical signal pattern that is detected by the two sensors and forwarded to the airbag control unit. Unlike other vehicle platforms, the function of the signal detected by the PPS pSAT in a head-on collision in the BMW i8 is to disconnect the HV battery, and hence mainly to protect the passengers and emergency services at the scene of the accident. This new application shows the flexible uses that can be made of the PPS pSAT system, a system that has already won numerous prizes.
The i8 is also equipped with a direct tire pressure monitoring system from Continental, a system that works precisely. The tire valves are directly connected to a compact electronics system. This system measures the tire pressure and temperature while the vehicle is at a standstill and during driving. This means that an excessively low tire pressure can be detected at an early stage and the driver warned. This increases the service life of the tires, ensures the best possible road handling and brake characteristics, and even lowers fuel consumption. Continental offers suitable sensors, and not just in original equipment. For a set of winter tires, the tire dealer can retrofit additional sensors from Continental.
Heating / Coolant Lines
Totaling over 31 meters in length in the i8 and composed of more than 30 hoses, and aluminum and plastic tubes from Continental, the lines for the heating and coolant circuits posed a particular challenge. The consistent use of extruded and heat-set plastic tubes plays a key role in minimizing weight. Elastomer hoses were only necessary in the engine compartments, where their high level of flexibility comes to full advantage. In order to securely connect the new plastic tubes, Continental developed several quick-release couplings and tube connectors. Not yet governed by any standards in the automotive industry, these ensure tight connections despite the low thickness of the tube walls.