When we think of electric vehicles, BMW isn't exactly the first company to come to mine; that distinction is usually reserved for Tesla. However, the German automaker is looking to move beyond low-volume exercises like the i3 and the i8 as it further integrates mainstream electric vehicles into its lineup. That brings us to the Power BEV, which is a development mule for a high-performance electric powertrain that could find its way into future BMWs.
The Power BEV was created from an M550i xDrive donor vehicle which is already setup for all-wheel drive (we'll talk more about this later). BMW then ripped out all of the internal combustion engine (ICE) components to make way for a battery pack and three 5th generation electric drive units. One of the drive units is found at the front axle, while the other two drive units are positioned at the rear axle.
The three electric drive units combine to generate 720 horsepower. For those keeping score, the current M5 produces "only" 591 horsepower from its twin-turbocharged V8 engine and 553 lb-ft of torque. While the 720-horsepower figure is no doubt impressive, it's the amount of torque that is a real jaw dropper. BMW says that total torque output is a pavement-shredding 7,375 lb-ft according to CNET.
With these stunning specs at your command, BMW claims that the Power BEV will hit 60mph in well under 3 seconds.
BMW says that the drive units are completely free of rare earth metals and that a production version of the motor will be installed in the upcoming iX3 crossover. The company's engineers were able to install the three drive units along with the requisite battery pack without intruding into the passenger compartment. However, there is no mention of available trunk space, so it's likely that some of the components necessary are house here. However, it's still possible that BMW was able to minimize cargo intrusion by allowing the battery pack to confirm to the areas previously designated for the rear driveshaft and gas tank would go in the M550i xDrive.
While we won't see a production, fully electric version of the current-generation car, we're certain that BMW is pretty far along in development of battery-powered versions of the next 5-Series.