MINI Fans all over the world have a variety of opportunities to look back on the 60 years of history enjoyed by the British brand over these weeks and months. Now there is another reason to celebrate. The ten millionth vehicle of the heritage brand was produced at the British MINI Plant Oxford where the classic Mini was manufactured from 1959 onwards. The anniversary vehicle rolling off the production line was a model of the MINI 60 Years Edition – and it then came face to face with the brand’s first small car ever manufactured. The classic Mini from 1959 and the Edition model from the year 2019 then joined forces with 60 other vehicles of the brand – each of them from one of the production years. They are all taking part in a road trip travelling to Bristol in convoy, where thousands of fans are celebrating the world’s biggest birthday party for the British original at the International Mini Meeting being held on Sunday 11 August.
The production anniversary to celebrate 60 years of the brand’s existence bears witness to the uninterrupted popularity of MINI in the 21st century. In 1959, the genius who designed the classic Mini, Alec Issigonis, laid down a definitive milestone in automobile history. The vehicle concept with the engine mounted transversely at the front of the car along with the gearbox configured beneath the engine, and the wheels positioned at the corners of the car together with a tailgate body provided maximum interior space on a minimum footprint. The design also ensured amazingly agile driving characteristics and it became the blueprint for modern small and compact cars. Around 5.3 million units of the classic Mini were sold worldwide up until the year 2000.
Just one year later, the global success story of the brand was continued. Since the relaunch of this marque, MINI is the original in the premium segment of small cars. The reinterpretation of the inimitable design, the unsurpassed driving fun that is unique in the competitive environment and the individual style of the brand are not simply generating enthusiasm in the class of small cars. These characteristic qualities are empowering MINI to continuously acquire new target groups in the premium compact segment. And the next stage is about to be launched. In November 2019, production of the all-electric powered MINI Cooper SE (fuel consumption combined: 0.0 l/100 km; electricity consumption combined: 16.8 – 14.8 kWh/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 0 g/km) will commence – also in Oxford. In future, this will also make electromobility a typical MINI experience full of driving fun and individuality.
Alone in the previous year, almost 400 000 MINIs were sold in 110 countries. This means that the sales figures for the modern MINI are following hot on the heels of its historic predecessor. The models MINI 3-door, MINI 5-door and MINI Clubman are currently being produced at the MINI Plant Oxford. Up to 1 000 vehicles are manufactured there every day. The MINI Convertible and the MINI Countryman roll off the assembly line at the Dutch production partner VDL NedCar.
“Seeing the ten millionth vehicle of our brand come off the production line here in Oxford was a moment of pride for all the employees. Some of them have family members who were already producing the classic Mini at this site,” explained Peter Weber, Head of the MINI Plant Oxford. “This is a wonderful chapter in the history of MINI and proof of the passion that our customers have for this very special British motor car.”
In the run-up to the production anniversary, MINI put posts on social media asking the brand’s British community to share their personal stories from 60 years of MINI with other fans. The huge response made it possible to bring together characteristic vehicles from each production year between 1959 and 2019 as the showpiece for the anniversary celebration at the MINI Plant Oxford. The highlight of this exceptional coalescence was the joint outing to the International Mini Meeting in Bristol. The first classic Mini ever built drove at the head of the convoy. It bears the registration 621 AOK well known among MINI fans and the car was followed in chronological order by protagonists from 60 years with the ten millionth vehicle of the brand bringing up in the rear of the impressive anniversary procession.
Most of us like to keep our cars looking nice and well maintained. We’ll wash them and take them in for routine service, have other minor issues attended to even when not “mission critical”, and generally bask in their reflected glory.
However, life’s little mishaps sometimes spoil the story. Someone opens a door onto your pride and joy, the inevitable stone chip appears, the reverse parking goes a little awry and, thanks to the fabulous low profile tyres, rim contact kerb, or, worse still, the clearance you thought you had getting out of a tight spot turns out to not be there. Or even more annoying, someone else has that experience against your car and drives off.
None of these blemishes are particular hard, or that expensive, to fix but who do you get to fix them properly? And can you be bothered to make a separate trip to wherever to get them fixed?
Both these issues have been addressed in a blindingly obvious, but by no means simple, solution.
How good would it be if you could take your car in for a routine service, leave it there a bit longer and have the minor paint or wheel damage fixed at the same time? Even better, the paint work will be done in a proper dust free clean room with first class environmental controls.
Well, you can at Waverley BMW who showed us the only Pod paint repair system installed at a dealership at our August members meeting.
Installed in conjunction with the iQBody group, the iQPod is a fully self contained clean room with re-usable activated charcoal filters for maximum environmental protection and no need for external flues or pipework. The Pod is used for all the painting and other dust and environmental sensitive work. All the preparation work is done outside the Pod.
Dents which have not broken the paint, such as many small hail dents, can be repaired without needing the Pod, but larger dents or scratches or bumper scuffs can be fixed and then over-painted in the Pod with full clear coat and colour matching.
They also have an iQurb wheel refurbishment system which scans the wheel and then programs a diamond cut CNC (Computer Numeric Control) machining head to smooth out the damage. This means that the precise amount of material removed is known and is minimised, leaving undamaged areas unaffected. Importantly it enables the technician to ensure that the safe maximum amount of material removal is not exceeded.
Once rectified the wheel is re-painted and/or clear coated (as applicable) in the Pod.
There are quite a number of BMW wheel finishes which most wheel repair facilities can not handle, but the iQurb system can be used on all BMW wheels although, as with any wheel repair, if the damage is too severe no one can safely fix it.
The utmost care and attention is applied in each case, and yet repairs can usually be completed in under 3 hours.
For those of us who attended the meeting, we not only received an explanation of the iQ services and the opportunity to mingle with other members whilst drinking in the excellence of a number of carefully chosen M-cars, but we will get 15% of any iQPod repairs up to 31 December 2019.
Many thanks to Waverley BMW and iQBody group for a very informative evening with fabulous refreshments and a nicely personalised brochure.
Meeting date: 06 August 2019
Lawrence Glynn | Member #3
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne
August 4 started off with a cold but sunny morning and I can honestly say that the excitement in our house was something like the night before Christmas.
We arrived at Pakenham early and I was surprised at how many other travellers and members were there bright, early and so very excited. Not all the travellers joined the train at Pakenham, it started its trip at Southern Cross and picked up from around 7 other stations along the way, which made this a great way to travel.
You could hear and see everyone at the station (and others just waiting to see the train pull in) looking anxious and excited, and then you hear it, that amazing TOOT TOOT, from this majestic old steam train. You can’t yet see it but you can feel and hear it and then around the corner you see the plume of smoke and everyone cheers and she pulls into the station.
We all then got herded onto the train quickly, as they have limited time at each station.
We choose to travel first class (only $5 extra), as these carriages were heated. I'm not sure why you would not have all carriages heated but I guess it is an old train. We had some lovely people in with us, who shared very similar interests and the time from Pakenham to Moe went quickly, it was great to see all the train watchers along the tracks, as we went past.
Arriving at Moe was super organised with six buses waiting to take all the travellers going to the snow away, once they had pulled out, four more busses arrived within minutes to take the travellers to Walhalla, we were on the Walhalla bus.
Arriving in Walhalla around 11.45am we went straight up to the Long Tunnel Extend Gold Mine for the 12pm tour. There was a great turn out with over 30 of us doing this tour. Some choose to have lunch first and do the 1.30pm tour.
The tour was quite amazing, learning about how long it took them to tunnel through the hard rook face to finally reach the quartz shelf 9 years later. It was amazing and to see the conditions the men worked in was incredible. If you are ever in Walhalla, this tour is a must.
We were very lucky as the town was fairly deserted apart from four bus loads of our travellers. It was so peaceful and relaxing, you felt like you were stepping back in time. Such a lovely little gold mining town.
One piece of information we learnt on the tour, was because of the steam engines which kept the mine working, this enabled the town to have street lights as early as 1914(ish) but once the mine closed, the electricity stopped and Walhalla has just celebrated 20 years of electricity, they had to run on generators for all that time until 1998.
We spent the rest of the afternoon meandering around the town and then took the little train up and back through the valley, a little chilly but a lot of fun.
4pm came around and off we all went back to Moe to return to the steam train. We were all a little cold and hungry and were surprised to find the local Scouts and Lions Clubs set up with BBQs going, with sausages and hamburgers and hot pumpkin soup - not to forget tea and coffee, which I can say, was well received and just before the train was due in. They had sold out of sausages and hamburgers and nearly the soup. Well done guys, very clever thinking.
Back on the train you could hear a few children crying. It was a long day, but the gentle rocking of the carriages soon rocked the children off to sleep and quite a few of the bigger kids too.
What a day, I recommend it to all who have not grown up, as this is truly a magical experience.
Well done to the staff and volunteers, as they had us all organised and feeling very special all day. Brilliant job.
Look out for this event next year, as it will be something we will do again as a club.
Jo Mawson | Member #2
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne
Click an image below to enlarge.
With two new communication campaigns, the premium automobile manufacturer BMW is directing attention to the growing diversity in its range of Sports Activity Vehicles and plug-in hybrid models. The TV commercials and online films produced under the motto “Choose your X” convey a sense of the different living environments in which one of the BMW X models – of which there are now seven in total – is the perfect choice. The short film series “Unplug & Play” shows how straightforward it is to enjoy electrically powered driving pleasure in a BMW plug-in hybrid model – literally simple enough for a child to understand.
Both campaigns are designed for international use. The start of the “Choose your X” campaign coincides with the market launch of the new BMW X1 and the new BMW X6 and is set to dominate presentation of the BMW X models in TV, online and print communication over the course of the next three years. The short films under the title “Unplug & Play” will be shown on YouTube as well as being used for other social media activities.
The letter X as a symbol of independence.
The world of mobility is full of decisions to be made: left or right, laid back or sporty, on-road or off-road? The BMW X models provide the perfect answer to many of these questions: everything is possible. They offer driving pleasure without compromise, combining dynamic performance, comfort and agility with generous space and unbridled forward thrust with exemplary efficiency. As such, the letter X has come to symbolise freedom of choice and independence, which is why it is the focus of the new communication campaign “Choose your X”. Of course it’s up to viewers themselves to decide which of the BMW Sports Activity Vehicles and Sports Activity Coupés – of which there are now seven in total – best meets their needs.
The internationally homogeneous communication instruments will be deployed across all automobile markets worldwide, focusing on the shared character elements of the BMW X models. Three TV commercials, two online launch films and eight additional films of varying lengths have been produced for this purpose. The campaign motifs derived from these also serve as a basis for the presentation of the BMW X models in the online and print areas.
The modular structure of the campaign makes it possible to highlight individual models and the entire BMW X family. Striking emotional imagery and a powerful musical background express the core characteristics that enable the BMW X models to individually fulfil the desire for independence and freedom: a supreme appearance, versatile driving characteristics and progressive technology in the areas of operation and connectivity.
The BMW X5 was the first model of its kind to combine the versatile qualities of an all-wheel drive vehicle with hallmark BMW sporty flair on the road: 20 years after its debut, the unmistakable characteristics of a BMW X model can now be experienced in a range of different of segments. In the premium compact segment, the BMW X1 Sports Activity Vehicle and the BMW X2 Sports Activity Coupé have become established as globally successful entry-level models. Meanwhile, the BMW X3 and BMW X4 in the mid-size segment and the BMW X5 and BMW X6 in the luxury performance segment also provide a diverse choice.
Sustainable mobility – simpler than ever.
In the short films in the series “Unplug & Play”, BMW entertainingly showcases the fascination of purely electrically powered and therefore locally emissions-free mobility. The main protagonist of the commercial is a little boy who is already very familiar with the straightforward procedure for using a BMW plug-in hybrid model – simply take out the plug and the fun begins. In a range of different situations, his pulling of a plug sets in motion an action-packed chain of events. At the end of the film, he pulls the charging plug of his mother’s BMW 330e Sedan (combined fuel consumption 1.9 – 1.6 l/100 km; combined power consumption 15.4 – 14.8 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions 43 – 37 g/km) out of the Wallbox, and the two of them set off to enjoy electrically powered driving pleasure in the plug-hybrid model together.
This humorous film focuses on the ease and peace-of-mind that is offered by using electrical energy for sustainable driving pleasure. A 75-second version of the commercial can be seen on the international BMW YouTube channel. Shorter versions have also been produced for use on social media.
In the area of plug-in hybrid models, BMW offers a level of diversity that is unique within the competitive environment. The spectrum ranges from the highly versatile BMW 225xe Active Tourer (combined fuel consumption 2.1 – 1.9 l/100 km; combined power consumption 14.2 – 13.5 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions 47 – 42 g/km) in the compact segment through to the plug-in hybrid sedans of the BMW 3 Series, BMW 5 Series and BMW 7 Series and the BMW X5 xDrive45e (combined fuel consumption 2.0 – 1.7 l/100 km; combined power consumption 23.5 – 20.3 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions 47 – 39 g/km) as well as the sports cars BMW i8 Coupé (combined fuel consumption 1.8 l/100 km; combined power consumption 14.0 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions 42 g/km) and BMW i8 Roadster (combined fuel consumption 2.0 l/100 km; combined power consumption 14.5 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions 46 g/km). Production of the BMW X3 xDrive30e is due to begin before the end of this year. It will be followed next year by plug-in hybrid variants of the BMW X1 and the BMW 3 Series Touring. By 2023 the BMW Group’s range will comprise a total of 25 models with electric drive.
In Germany, the BMW Group is the market leader in the segment of electrically powered automobiles with a share of nearly 20 per cent. In the first six months of 2019 the company was able to sell more than 10,000 vehicles in its home market which are either purely electrically powered or fitted with plug-in hybrid drive. This was an increase of some 60 per cent over the previous year. BMW is the market leader for plug-in hybrids in Germany as well as in Europe and worldwide. The reasons for this are the early market entry in 2014 and the broadest product range in the competitive environment.
MONTH IN REVIEW
July was a quiet month with some fun events.
Our members meeting was held at SEA Electric Trucks. This relatively new company kindly opened their doors to show us what they believe to be the way forward for the trucking and transport industry. We were greeted with a massive spread of food, tea and coffee in an amazing facility.
We then held our very popular Christmas in July event. We started out with a breakfast meeting at HQ Steakhouse in Pakenham, where we braved a chilly early morning start to have a delicious breakfast, before heading off on another of Peter Williams’ wonderful cruises, to then find us arrive at The Outpost in Noojee for Christmas (in July) lunch.
Our third and final event for the month was held at Winton - our fifth round of the Yokohama/Traction Tyres Drivers' Championship. This round we were joined by our NSW counterparts, in what we now call the BMW Clubs Cross Border Cup. Unfortunately for us, BMWDC NSW took home the trophy this year.
Click here to see our latest Championship results.
MEMBERSHIP UPDATE: 402 MEMBERSWelcome to all our new members, we look forward to seeing you at an upcoming event!
Don't forget to catch up with this month's update from our President, Graeme Bell here.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING NOTICE
In October our monthly meeting will be an Oktoberfest themed event at the Tivoli German Club followed by our first Annual General Meeting (AGM).
At the AGM, as is the usual custom, all committee positions will be declared vacant and committee members elected or re-elected for the next 12 months.
A call for nominations for committee positions will be sent out by September 1.
The notice of AGM will be sent out by September 23.
THE MONTH AHEAD
Here's our plans for August:
Keep an eye on our calendar for events coming up, we’re always adding something new.
22 September Stony Creek Drive and Go KartingFor all those who love a little bit of adrenaline, this is the event for you. Outdoor karting on a generous track with real overtaking.
For those less enthusiastic, there is an observation area, where you will be able to sit and watch the others have some fun, while enjoying a coffee and something to eat.
NEWS | BLOG
Have an interesting story about you or how you came to own your BMW? How about a story about a restoration or a build of your car? It could be anything!
Email us because we'd love to read it and share it with our members.
Members are welcome to submit their business to be shared on the Member Services page on our website. We are all about supporting those who support us, so if you would like your business listed, email us with your details and we'll add you to the page!
President | Graeme Bell 0407 186 296
Vice President | Jo Mawson 0412 661 900
Secretary | Lawrence Glynn 0414 563 290
Treasurer | Shaaron Glynn
Proudly supported by:
Another month gone and thinking we were going to have a fairly quiet month (being the middle of Winter and most of us happy to hibernate), turns out the events we did do were huge!
The members meeting at SEA Electric was amazing! Seeing a little Aussie company taking on the world and building dedicated electric trucks and vans right here in Melbourne was incredible. It was an amazing facility and people with a vision for the future and building full electric vehicles.
One of our most popular events each year is our Christmas in July Cruise and Lunch. This year was no exception. We started out with a breakfast meeting at HQ Steakhouse in Pakenham, where more than 20 of us braved a chilly early morning start to have a delicious breakfast, before heading off on another of Peter Williams’ wonderful cruises, to then find us arrive at The Outpost in Noojee. Here we enjoyed a lovely afternoon - lots of fun and frivolity with our silly Christmas outfit parade and again lots of happy people going home with amazing hampers donated by club member Ross from Celebrations in Clarinda. Even some of the other customers joined in with our fun.
For the fifth round of the Traction Tyres/Yokohama Drivers Championship we headed up to Winton, where we took over the running of the long-held tradition of BMW Drivers Club NSW coming down to join Victorian Club members in a Sprint meeting. We also invited members from BMW Car Club Victoria and BMW Car Club Canberra to come and join us, in what will now be known as the BMW Clubs Cross Border Cup.
The NSW Clubs took home the inaugural trophy (donated by Bell Motorsport), beating the Victorian drivers by less than 100 points over the days’ competition. We had over 50 cars enter and with no incidents or hold ups during the day. Everyone went home with lots of laps and fun had in perfect conditions. It was also fantastic to have quite a few members come up to help run the event, as CAMS officials or instructors, we do appreciate your help run events like this. It is also great to see some Members enrolling in some upcoming CAMS courses to further their training and obtain qualifications to help us in the future.
This coming weekend is a 2 day scrutineers course and we have quite a few enrolled in that. Of course, having a CAMS Officials Licence allows you to do many other events to whatever level you want to go up to. Two of us have even applied to help train officials to run the new Grand Prix in Vietnam next year, we will find out soon enough if we have been selected for that. If you would like information on anything to do with CAMS or helping run Track days, drop me a line.
At Winton, we also ran a Driver Training Group within the 5 groups on the day and had a lot of very happy new and old drivers learning some skills and gaining invaluable experience from our more experienced instructors. It was a very busy day, but one everyone enjoyed immensely.
Our next Round of the Yokohama/Traction Tyres Drivers' Championship will be at Sandown on September 8 with the Alfa Club, running on what will be the newly refurbished Sandown Track. As I write this, Sandown has just closed for some resurfacing works and remodelling of the infamous turn 6, and we will be one of the first events to run there once it reopens. It should be very interesting! Make sure you keep an eye on your emails, as the events at Sandown usually fill up pretty quick and with changes there, it will be very popular with people wanting to have a look at the new layout.
There are lots of events coming up that you should start thinking about too. Our members meeting in August will be at Waverley BMW to check out their exclusive body and wheel repair department, very worth coming to check out. For something different, we are doing a Steam Train to the Snow event this coming weekend, sadly for most of you, it is now booked out, next time we will try and get more spots, as it is looking like it will be a fun day out! Then one of the first display events for the season will be the German Auto Show on August 25, this is a huge event and one well worth coming along to, either to display your pride and joy, or just to have a look! Lots of other popular events coming soon too, Geelong Revival, Motorclassica, Sprints, Drives, lots coming up. Our first AGM will be in October, if anyone is thinking of standing for a position on the committee, keep an eye out for notices in the next few months. We will be doing the Bathurst 12 Hour trip again this year - registration is open now, if you’d like to join us at the mountain for one of the best motorsport events you will ever see. Contact Jo for details on inclusions and prices. The December weekend away with NSW and Canberra Clubs will be up soon too, again, another fantastic event that will happen every year. Keep checking the event calendar and your emails, we often have special events and offers that come along, they are sometimes at short notice or limited in time or availability, so when you see something you like, get in quick!
Membership is still steaming along, with 26 new Members joining in July, Welcome to you all. We are very happy with the retention rate of members and the continued growth of our little Club. Thank you to all of you that continue to support the Club, I hope you enjoy everything the Club has to offer and, of course, we are always open to new ideas for events, if you have done something or have an idea or want to run an event even, let us know! This is your Club!
I look forward to seeing you at an event soon.
Graeme Bell | President
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne Inc.
P.O. Box 81, TYABB, VICTORIA. 3913
Incorporated in Victoria #A0102695GBMW Drivers Club Melbourne Inc is a member of:BMW Clubs Australia and the BMW Clubs International CouncilCAMS Affiliated Motorsport Club
Well what can I say? Just the most fun you can have without breaking any laws!
I borrowed a race car from Bell Motorsport for a BMW Driver’s Club Melbourne track day at Winton. While I had been to Winton before, it wasn’t in a race prepared BMW E30.
I was able to tow it up in convoy with the Bell Motorsport team and drop it off with them to the track.
A good dinner together at the Royal in Benalla and a sleep like a kid on Christmas Eve and Saturday arrived. Groups were organised and before I knew it, I’m on the track in Jess Bell’s E30 race car and having a ball.
If you’re thinking about doing this then I highly recommend it. You can thank me later.
Darryl O'Neill | Member #52
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne
Having taken part and loving a couple of the earlier track day events this year, I can attest that the latest BMWDCM event (Round 5) at Winton on was also a success.
It was combined with Round 6 of the NSW Club's ‘Supersprint’, which basically was a Vic v NSW BMW clubs showdown.
NSW took the title, but only by a small margin. 1000 odd points, to Vic’s well over 900. Jo and Graeme were very graceful in presenting the trophy to our friends from across the border. But the challenge is on again for next year and I can’t wait.
I normally take part in my X5 or 5’er, but have now gone all out and bought an E30 Race Car through Bell Motorsport. My new, older, toy is an absolute bundle of fun and excitement.
No Driver Assists (what so ever), no electronics, no comforts, no tricks, and plenty of noises and clutters from somewhere under the car. But, a whole lot of fun!!!
Like a professional, I had the car loaded onto trailer the night before.
The day consisted of; taking off at 04:45 for an approximate 08:00 arrival, unloading, preparing, scrutineering, checking out all these other beautiful cars, driving round and round the circuit, presentations and speeches, loading/packing up, and getting back home around 20:00. Absolutely knackered. Yet, I’d do it all again, tomorrow.
Most importantly, it wasn’t just about ‘car stuff’ and driving egos (mostly mine haha), but meeting and speaking with a great bunch of like-minded guys and gals.
It’s amazing whom you meet, share life experiences with, discuss hobbies, professions, families, health, and let all sorts of things off your chest.
MOTORSPORT - it seems, is what the doctor ordered.
Just let go, switch off, and have non-judgemental fun!
Walter Buehler | Member #38
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne
The plant’s own battery facility now produces the new fourth-generation batteries. These are intended for the plug-in hybrid models of the new BMW X5 and the future BMW X3, also produced in Spartanburg.
“We have invested around ten million US dollars in a new battery assembly line and expanded the area to more than 8,000 square metres. This means we could double the number of batteries produced if needed to meet market demand,” explains Michael Nikolaides, Senior Vice President Engines and Electrified Drivetrains, BMW Group.
The new assembly line will be able to produce different types of fourth-generation batteries to serve the growing range of electrified vehicles locally. These batteries are based on a new technology concept that further enhances their performance.
More than 120 people will be employed in battery production at Plant Spartanburg by the end of the year, having completed a comprehensive training programme to acquire the technological know-how needed for battery production.
“We have produced batteries on site at Plant Spartanburg since 2015 – making the BMW Group a pioneer for electromobility in the US,” says Knudt Flor, President and CEO, BMW Manufacturing, Co., LLC. In the past four years, the plant’s battery assembly team has produced a total of more than 45,000 batteries.
Further investment in production of BMW X5 and BMW X3 plug-in hybrids
Between 2015 and 2018, BMW Group Plant Spartanburg built the first series produced plug-in hybrid vehicle, the BMW X5 xDrive40e (combined fuel consumption: 3,3 l/100km; combined power consumption: 15,3 kWh/100km ; combined CO2-emission: 77 g/km), for the core BMW brand. The start of production for the new BMW X5 xDrive45e (combined fuel consumption: 2,0-1,7 l/100km*; combined power consumption: 23,5-20,3 kWh/100km*; combined CO2-emission: 47-39 g/km*) will be in August 2019; production of the BMW X3 xDrive30e (combined fuel consumption: from 2,4 l/100 km*; combined power consumption: from 22,7 kWh/100 km*; combined CO2-emission: from 56 g/km*; provisional figures) will get underway in December.
“The BMW X5 and BMW X3 are currently among the top-selling BMW models in the US. We expect their plug-in hybrid variants to be just as popular with customers,” adds Flor.
Since the start of the year, the BMW Group has invested a further ten million US dollars in production of plug-in hybrid models. An additional 225 vehicle assembly workers received training in the production of electrified vehicles, adding to the Plant’s already skilled staff.
International production network for batteries
The BMW Group currently has three battery facilities: at the Competence Centre for E-drive Production at BMW Group Plant Dingolfing in Germany, at BMW Group Plant Spartanburg in the US and at Plant Powertrain of its joint venture, BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA). The BMW Group also produces batteries for local car production in cooperation with a partner in Thailand. The BMW Group’s battery research and pilot plant are located in Munich.
Co-written by Simeon Taylor and his daughter, Elsie Taylor (aged 9)
We started our Christmas adventure by having a lovely breakfast at the Steakhouse HQ, warm inside, cold and stormy outside. Then we started to drive out of the town it was very peaceful; the rain, the occasional car coming through, the beautiful scenery and Christmas vibe.
Simeon: Kinda peaceful, but heading out there was a lot of traffic spreading the convoy far and wide.
We kept going like that for while then we stopped in Darnum for a quick break, it was FREEZING and went on our way.
Simeon: At the stop I was checking out this cool e30 3 series one family had come in - it had V8 shoehorned into it. Sounded great.
On the way it was very bumpy or as my dad likes to say "exciting".
Simeon: It was also a very beautiful area to drive through, with giant tree canopies and mountainscapes. Our younger 4yr old daughter declared at least three times that this is where she wanted to move to.
We finally got to the Tool Shed pub in Noojee and we all went in. Some, like my Dad, wandered into the wrong building but found us eventually.
Simeon: The sun was out, we were all chatting about a good drive, just following the people in front of us.
Most of us had received our first course, when we were greeted by a black out. The lights stuttered then went out and the emergency lights came on.
Simeon: It lasted a few minutes, and they got back-up power on pretty soon. That only failed once when they had to refill the diesel.
Then all the kids were called to the front and given a little stocking stuffed with delicious candy. 'Attention please,' called out Jo, who was dressed as a snowman. 'We would like to thank Peter for organising this lovely trip'. And with that Peter was presented with a round of applause and his very own badge for drive co-ordinator. Next they had the presentation for best Christmas outfit. It went to Mal, he was wearing a bush hat and covered in Xmas bonbons!
After that there was lots of prizes in the raffle, we didn't win any. Then we all finished eating and went home.
Simeon: Rain was back by then, still lovely driving through this beautiful area.
Simeon and Elsie Taylor | Member #168
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne
Since 2018, the BMW Group has been using various AI applications in series production. One focus is automated image recognition: In these processes, artificial intelligence evaluates component images in ongoing production and compares them in milliseconds to hundreds of other images of the same sequence. This way, the AI application determines deviations from the standard in real time and checks, for instance, whether all required parts have been mounted and whether they are mounted in the right place.
The innovative technology is fast, reliable and, most importantly, easy to use. Christian Patron, Head of Innovation, Digitalization and Data Analytics at BMW Group Production: “Artificial intelligence offers great potential. It helps us maintain our high quality standards and at the same time relieves our people of repetitive tasks.”
At the BMW Group, flexible, cost-effective, AI-based applications are gradually replacing permanently installed camera portals. The implementation is rather simple. A mobile standard camera is all that is needed to take the relevant pictures in production. The AI solution can be set up quickly too: Employees take pictures of the component from different angles and mark potential deviations on the images. This way, they create an image database in order to build a so-called neural network, which can later evaluate the images without human intervention. Employees do not have to write code; the algorithm does that virtually on its own. At the training stage, which may mean overnight, a high-performance server calculates the neural network from around 100 images, and the network immediately starts optimizing. After a test run and possibly some adjustments, the reliability reaches 100%. The learning process is completed and the neural network can now determine on its own whether or not a component meets the specifications.
Even moving objects are reliably identified largely independent of factors such as lighting in the production area or the exact camera position. This opens up a wide range of potential applications along the entire automotive process chain, including logistics. In many cases, the AI technology relieves employees of repetitive, monotonous tasks such as checking whether the warning triangle is in the right place in the trunk or whether the windscreen wiper cap has been put on.
Artificial intelligence can also perform more demanding inspection tasks.
In the final inspection area at the BMW Group’s Dingolfing plant, an AI application compares the vehicle order data with a live image of the model designation of the newly produced car. Model designations and other identification plates such as “xDrive” for four-wheel drive vehicles as well as all generally approved combinations are stored in the image database. If the live image and order data don’t correspond, for example if a designation is missing, the final inspection team receives a notification.
Christian Patron: “We rely entirely on the experience and expertise of our employees in these efforts. They can judge best at which production steps an AI application may improve quality and efficiency. We deliberately keep the setup and implementation of such applications simple. Their operation requires no advanced IT proficiency.”
AI eliminates pseudo-defects
At the press shop, flat sheet metal parts are turned into high-precision components for the car body. Dust particles or oil residues that remain on the components after forming can easily be confused with very fine cracks, which occur in rare cases during the process. Previous camera-based quality control systems at the BMW Group’s plant in Dingolfing, Germany, occasionally also marked these pseudo-defects: deviations from the target, even though there was no actual fault. With the new AI application, these pseudo-defects no longer occur because the neural network can access around 100 real images per feature – i.e. around 100 images of the perfect component, 100 images with dust particles, another 100 images with oil droplets on the component, etc. This is particularly relevant in the case of the visually close calls that have previously led to pseudo-defects.
The BMW Group’s Steyr plant and the BMW Group Data Analytics Team are also successfully working on eliminating pseudo-defects. Presumed irregularities in torque measurement in the engine cold test later often turn out to be insignificant. Before introducing the AI solution, however, such results led to complex manual inspections and further test runs, up to and including hot tests with fuel. The analysis software was trained based on many recorded test runs and thus learned to distinguish between actual and presumed errors.
AI ‘in control’: Integrating artificial intelligence with facility and robot control systems.
The first smart AI control application at the BMW Group celebrated its premiere at the BMW Group’s Steyr plant. This application speeds up logistics processes by preventing unnecessary transports of empties on conveyor belts. To this end, the containers pass through a camera station. Using stored image data marked by employees, the AI application recognizes whether the container needs to be lashed onto a pallet or whether – in the case of large, stable boxes – no additional securing is required. If no lashing is required, the AI application directs a container by the shortest route to the removal station for the forklift truck. Containers that must be additionally secured, on the other hand, are guided directly to the conveyor section with the lashing system and only then to the removal station located behind. Previously, all containers had to be transported to the removal station for large containers. From there, the containers that required additional securing had to be forwarded – and would only reach the lashing facility and finally the correct removal station after taking this detour.
Besides the application in Steyr, AI is behind numerous other logistics innovations at the BMW Group. It also supports virtual layout planning, which creates high-resolution 3D scans of buildings and factories. Artificial intelligence ultimately contributes to the recognition of individual objects in the 3D scan, such as containers, building structures or machines. This allows engineers to remove individual objects from the 3D scan in the 3D planning software and to modify these individually, which makes it easier to simulate and understand adaptations on the shop floor.
There is already a distinct trend toward using AI applications at the BMW Group’s plants. The increasing integration of smart data analytics, state-of-the-art measurement technology and AI opens up new opportunities in production management. At the body shop, for instance, images from the final inspection may show that weld metal has sprayed out at the same welding point in several car bodies. Using AI, the control loop can thus be closed and system control or maintenance cycles be adjusted even faster and more efficiently. At the paint shops, AI and analytics applications offer the potential to detect sources of error at such an early stage that errors can hardly occur any more: If no dust attaches to the car body before painting in the first place, none has to be polished off later.
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