BMW just used its electric vehicle tech to create an honest-to-god rocket suit. The BMW Electric Wingsuit is probably just a publicity stunt, but man it’s cool!
No, we do not yet live in a world where we all zip around town with our personal, zero-emission jetpack. BUT — we are closer than ever before. That’s because BMW just-released video of a functional, twin-turbine, all-electric wingsuit that was actually proven over the Austrian Alps. Check it out.
And sure, it’s definitely a publicity stunt — BMW proudly pins the tech to its soon-to-hit-Euro-showrooms iX3 SUV. But come on, rocket pack!
BMW Electric Wingsuit
The Swiss pilot, 33-year-old Peter Salzmann, leapt from a helicopter hovering 10,000 feet above the “Three Brothers” mountain peaks in the Alps. According to BMW, Salzmann, an experienced wingsuiter and BASE jumper, glided ahead of a camera crew within 6 feet of jagged cliffs — preparing for his big moment.
When the time came, he flicked a slider with his ring- and middle fingers, activating two carbon fiber and aluminum impellers. The electric engines — churning out 25,000 RPMs of power and no emissions — blasted Salzmann in an unprecedented upward arc. It was brief, but provided a glimpse of the solo free flight so many of us have dreamed about, inspired by the fantasy of cartoons and science fiction for decades.
The BMW Electric Wingsuit power system was mounted to Salzmann’s chest for optimized aerodynamics. BMW’s thrusters ran off of a 50-volt, 15-kilowatt battery that helped kick out the setup’s 282 hp and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. With the battery and engines, the BWM Electric Wingsuit weighs in at about 26 pounds — not bad for a miniature jet!
“Our future-oriented approach with electric propulsion systems and innovative materials and technologies were a perfect fit for Peter Salzmann’s unusual but fascinating idea,” BMW’s vice president of brand experience Stefan Ponikva said. “Only an electric impeller is lightweight and agile enough to enable regular wingsuit flying and basejumping. Light enough to climb mountains with, agile enough to fly tight turns and maneuvers, and yet quiet enough not to disturb the purity of the flight.”
That same technological know-how that swept Salzmann up in his harrowing, superhero-like arc is also built into BMW’s “fully electric Sport Activity Vehicle (SAV).” The iX3 marks the fifth generation of the German automaker’s eDrive battery system.
This boasts a gross output of 80 kWh and a range of 285-320 miles, depending on the testing standard. This powerhouse cranks out 282 hp and vaults the iX3 from 0-62 mph (100 kph) in 6.8 seconds.
What’s more, BMW promises this EV — due to hit dealer showrooms this month — will go from fully discharged to 80 percent charged in 34 minutes. That translates to 60 miles of juice in just 10 minutes of charging, according to BMW.
But, like its Rocketeer wingsuit cousin, this car won’t be available — at least to North Americans. The iX3 will debut in Chinese and European markets this year. According to reports, BMW, like other automakers, is prioritizing its EV fleets on markets with more strict emissions standards.
Impressive EV SUV aside, we want to see more e-rocketman! The BMW Electric Wingsuit is an impressive piece of engineering, that will no doubt garner more headline-grabbing attention in the future.