Besides developing alternative drive vehicles like the i3 and i8, BMW i has the function of an incubator for innovation within the BMW Group.
One of the projects the company has been working on, the patent for a drive unit swing arm, is entering production at the HNF eBike factory after development in collaboration with BMW Research and Technology.
The patent originates from the first stage of BMW i market research and the early concept phase. Since the company had no immediate use for it due to the focus on two-track electric vehicles, BMW i has now released the patent for external use.
The first application of the drive unit swing arm is on the Heisenberg XF1 e-bike built by HNF Heisenberg. The drive unit swing arm is a new kind of frame technology for full-suspension e-bikes featuring a mid-motor.
The concept allows the drive train, which was previously firmly attached to the main frame, to float freely, eliminating the need for the conventional chain tensioner. This allows for the first time the combination of a rear suspension and the durable, maintenance-free carbon belt drive on full-suspension e-bikes.
The BMW i patent allows for the first time the integration of mid-motor, gears and belt drive into an innovative suspension module, thereby dispensing with a belt tensioner. Available starting this summer, the HNF Heisenberg XF1 has a maximum range of 130 km (81 miles) and is priced from €8,345 ($9,235).