The BMW i Electrified Wingsuit is the next innovation in wingsuits, powered by impellers for sustainable energy.
The Electrified Wingsuit features two carbon fiber impellers which are each powered by a 10 hp electric motor, allowing for high speeds and flying times of up to five minutes. The battery-powered impeller system, located on the front of the wingsuit, weighs only 26 pounds and spins at 25,000 rpm.
Designworks, the BMW Group’s design innovation studio, worked on developing the wingsuit with the electric impeller. “From a technical standpoint we brought in Designworks, who are experts in bringing together the needs of mobility and other sectors,” said Stefan Ponikva, who promoted the project at BMW i and is now vice president brand experience.
In testing, Peter Salzmann, a base jumper and skydiver and the creative mind behind the wingsuit, and others in traditional wingsuits, jumped from a helicopter at a height of 3,000 meters. BMW reported that the Electrified Wingsuit allowed Mr. Salzmann to accelerate faster than the others. Mr. Salzmann explained that pilots will experience “immediate acceleration, allowing them to fly at speeds of more than 186 mph (300 km/h).” The wingsuit was also tested in the wind tunnels BMW uses for auto tests.
“I quickly came up with the idea of an impeller, in other words a propeller enclosed by a ring or tube-shaped housing. However, a fuel-powered or conventional motor was out of the question,” Peter Salzmann, points out. “Sustainability is very important to me, and something I try to live my everyday life by. I enjoy nature from the air and on the ground – that’s why I aim to consistently follow the path of sustainability even when it comes to mobility. With the fully electric BMW iX3, I can now do that when preparing for my latest jumps – and thanks in no small part to the support of BMW i, the progress in electrification has made my dream possible.”
Mr. Ponikva added, “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. In my opinion, Peter Salzmann perfectly embodies the attitude of the BMW i brand with his unique vision, his passion and his courage.”