BMW and Dorna Sports have been partners since 1999. The former’s M Division provides the official safety car of the latter’s MotoGP motorcycling races—the M4. The partnership continues this year in MotoGP’s 17th season, where BMW is bringing the same safety car but with a different technology. Last week, BMW announced that the M4 that will be hitting the racetracks features an innovative technology—water injection.
For the first time ever, BMW is bringing water injection to the M4 safety car for the 2015 MotoGP season. The Munich automaker said in a statement that this system will boost the car’s performance and reduce its engine’s fuel consumption.
So how does BMW’s water injection system work? As the name suggests, the system injects or sprays water in the combustion chamber. The idea is to lower the temperature of the air inside the chamber. It releases a mist of water into the hot air that passes through the chamber, helping it cool down a bit. By making the air cooler, the system helps make combustion more efficient.
The water injection system benefits the M4 car in several ways. First, it manages the negative effects of having high temperature in the combustion chamber. Second, it helps performance by boosting output. Also, it reduces knocking as well as fuel consumption. Moreover, it allows the car to use lower-octane fuel in the absence of the higher-octane variety.
Unfortunately, there is a catch. In order for the vehicle to get better combustion and more efficient fuel consumption, it must carry more weight. The water injection system, complete with a 1.3-gallon water tank and pump, is excess baggage. Aside from the additional weight, another concern is the refilling. In the case of the MotoGP safety car, BMW has to refill the tank every time it refuels the car. However, the carmaker claims that real-world application will only require refilling every five gas station stops.
Speaking of the water injection system’s real-world application, it is a question of when and not if—BMW hinted that it could be bringing the technology on vehicles intended for everyday use. The carmaker probably took the MotoGP race as an opportunity to test how the system works on the racetrack before it uses it for passenger cars that will be traveling on public roads. It is likely that BMW will introduce the water injection system across its lineup, putting it in performance and non-performance models alike.
Photo credit: press.bmwgroup.com