BMW plans to power thousands of SUVs and sedans in the 2020s with their electric technology. But the BMW i division recently collaborated with Peter Salzmann, an Austrian stuntman, for something else. Together they have created a battery-powered wingsuit. This electric BMW jetpack can propel a person at the highest speed of 186m/h.
With this electric jetpack, 33 years old Salzmann flew above the Austrian Alps. It took him around 3 years to get it working. A wingsuit is not unheard of, but the powering unit was developed from scratch. The electric BMW jetpack is compact, lightweight, power-dense, and reliable. It is powered by a 50-volt lithium battery.
The battery unit is built around 2 carbon fiber propellers spinning at 25,000 rpm. It can generate 15 kW, which is almost the same as 20 horsepower. Carbon fiber and aluminum were used for the casing to keep the device lightweight at 26 pounds.
BMW engineers worked on the drive unit and Salzmann worked on the suit. It resembles a racing suit. Fabric resembling the skin membranes of flying squirrels was used to make the person wearing it glide through the air. The wingsuit with the electric pack was tested in the same BMW tunnel that is used to make its cars aerodynamic. When it came to testing the final product in the real world, everyone was nervous yet excited to go over the Austrian Alps.
Salzmann flew out in a helicopter and jumped out at 10,000 feet. He chose to glide for a while before he switched on the device. With Superman-like poses, Salzmann flew in the electric BMW jetpack before dispatching the parachute for a smooth landing.
The live test was a success. But don’t expect to see this electric device in BMW showrooms just yet. According to sources, the company does not plan on mass production just yet. Salzmann will continue working on the jetpack and the wingsuit. If BMW does not pick it up commercially, maybe some other company will!
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