BMW’s AWD R 1200 GS xDrive Hybrid Might Be A Real Thing

BMW Motorrad posted a press release on April Fool’s Day this year about a new R 1200 GS xDrive Hybrid model, which was described as the first production enduro bike with hybrid all-wheel-drive. Well, we found a patent for that system, and it doesn't look like a hoax anymore.
BMW R 1200 GS xDrive Hybrid 4 photos
Photo: BMW Motorrad
BMW R 1200 GS xDrive HybridBMW R 1200 GS xDrive HybridBMW R 1200 GS xDrive Hybrid patent
Did BMW Motorrad go too far with a joke it quickly filed for a patent to make everything sound legit? Well, if you visit the application on World Intellectual Property Organization’s website, you’d see BMW filed for it in June 2016 and was published in March 2017.

The patent’s abstract describes the invention as being related to “a vehicle having a front wheel which can be driven by means of a first drive arrangement, and a rear wheel which can be driven by means of a second drive arrangement.”

Moreover, the description goes one saying that “the first drive arrangement is integrated into the front wheel and comprises an electric motor for selectively rotatably driving the front wheel and a reduction gear which switches between the electric motor and the front wheel which is to be driven.”

In the initial press release, BMW Motorrad was describing a very similar wheel-hub e-Drive system functioning both as an electric motor and generator. The unit was capable of putting out 33 kW (45 HP), which bumped the R 1200 GS total power output to 125 kW (170 HP).

Using a new generation battery derived from BMW’s i technology, the energy recovered during braking would be stored and released when needed. A special system allows the rider to use a number of riding modes to customize how the all-wheel-drive system operates and adjust the hybrid system’s recuperation strategies.

The xDrive not only aids with traction in rough terrain, it can also improve braking characteristics thanks to the energy recovery function. This eliminates the need of using a second front disc and caliper which saves a bit of weight or at least compensates for the added hub motor.

Coincidence or not, a real AWD hybrid-powered R 1200 GS has already been built by BMW tuner firm Wunderlich, which is also close to the company's R&D department. We're talking about the X2 prototype which uses the exact system described in the patent document.

So, will we get an all-wheel drive BMW R 1200 GS? The company was saying about it being unveiled for the public soon and that it will be available from the second half of 2017.

Guess we’ll only have to wait a bit more to find out. If all else fails, this might be the most elaborate prank ever...
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