It can intervene 50 times more quickly than what's on the current lineup.
There's a paradox built into the latest generation of electric cars that should not be lost on performance fans, especially those hoping to experience 1.9-second 0-60 mph launches in one of the Tesla Roadster's four seats. It all boils down to the fact that these vehicles have seemingly unlimited amounts of torque on tap for launch control-enabled blast offs but feature range-extending tires that are engineered to roll with as little friction as possible.
That lack of friction doesn't bode well for performance models such as the new and improved BMW i3S. With only 184 horsepower sitting under the driver's right foot, no one is gonna be breaking any track records behind that wheel, but it doesn't mean that its 199 lb-ft of torque can't overwhelm those skinny tires. That's why BMW is using the i3S to debut the latest generation of its traction control system, developed specifically for its ever-expanding line of electric cars. Unlike what you'd find in an M4 with all the nannies turned on, this traction control takes advantage of the fact that the motors are attached directly at the wheels and can respond to changes in torque needs almost instantly.
However, that's not the defining factor that enables this special traction control system to react to wheel slip 50 times faster than its predecessor. For that the i3S can thank the fact that the processing unit is mounted directly at the powertrain, eliminating the need for data to be sent from sensors in the wheels to a processing center and then back to the powertrain for changes, a process that takes ample amounts of time. "With their high levels of torque and instantaneous responses to every movement of the accelerator, electric motors already make significantly higher demands on driving stability systems than conventional power units," explains Peter Langen, Head of Chassis Development at BMW.
With the slight modification of moving the traction control's brain closer to the action, the i3S can accelerate better, handle itself properly in bad weather, and stay composed through the corner exits. That might not sound like a huge deal for the i3S, but the concept can be applied to internal combustion engine-powered models too. Just wait until the next M4 allows amateurs to lay down legendary lap times without being helpless. The positive impacts of BMW's new traction control system are so highly regarded by the system creators that it'll soon make its way into the entire BMW and Mini lineup, including front wheel-drive, rear wheel-drive, and all wheel-drive models. Another reason to jump on the i3S bandwagon even if it's not your cup of tea.