The BMW iNEXT, which will be the brand’s first all-electric SUV, it currently busy heat testing in South Africa.
Intensive test runs in the freezing cold at the polar circle are now being followed by a contrasting program in the Kalahari in southern Africa, where in addition to extreme heat and solar radiation, permanent dust formation and off-road terrain with its sand, pebble and gravel tracks pose exceptional challenges for the BMW Group’s technology flagship.
The so-called hot climate tests are an integral part of a both extensive and varied development and test program within the framework of the series maturity process, which entails BMW iNEXT prototypes being subjected virtually in time lapse to the stress of an entire vehicle service life.
The test drives through the desert and Savanna regions in the North West of South Africa offer development engineers the ideal prerequisites for testing and harmonising all drive and suspension components under extreme conditions.
Surfaces alternating between sand dunes, gravel tracks and off-road passages pose an exceptional challenge even to the intelligent four-wheel drive system of the BMW iNEXT. In temperatures that would drain any mobile phone battery in no time at all, the integrated cooling concept for the high-voltage battery, the electric motor and the vehicle electronics of the BMW iNEXT stands the test.
Moreover, the interior air conditioning, which operates by means of thermal pump technology, its control system and all further components of the vehicle electronics are subjected to the extreme conditions of the desert climate in order to prove their series maturity.
During extensive heat tests, the vehicle is repeatedly exposed to the heat of the sun for hours and later cooled down. In this way, the developers test not only the operability of the electrical systems, but also the temperature stability of the materials used in the interior, because the test engineers do not accept any creaking or crackling noises even in the event of sudden and intense temperature fluctuations. Furthermore, the Kalahari offers the ideal conditions for testing the dust-tightness of flaps, doors and bonnets.
Watch the extensive heat testing procedure in the video below: