The BMW iNEXT is undergoing further testing across the Kalahari desert in South Africa ahead of series production in 2021.
Intensive test runs in the freezing cold at the polar circle are now being followed by a contrasting program in the Kalahari, 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.
In this literally hot phase of the series development process, not only do the drive and suspension components of the BMW iNEXT, a car designed for all-electric mobility, provide proof of their functional safety, durability and reliability, but also the car’s bodywork, interior, driver assistance systems and digitalisation technology.
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.
Like every new BMW model, the vehicle’s way to serial maturity leads to the BMW Group proving ground at Miramas in Southern France, the Nürburgring Nordschleife and other racetracks and to the Winter Center in Arjeplog, Sweden, as well as to desert regions with an extremely high level of heat and dryness.
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. During test drives over thousands of kilometres on unpaved roads, through dune landscapes and across sandy scrublands, the BMW iNEXT is stirring up a lot of dust but without letting any of it get inside.