evnow wrote:Sorry, that story makes little or no sense. BMW doesn't need a "project manager" (i.e. a non-technical guy) from GM to teach them how to do a PHEV. It is not rocket science. Moreover - you can't hire a person from GM & create a drivetrain that looks like a GM drive-train. That would be asking for trouble in the courts.
You haven't understood the article. The article isn't contending that GM invented the planetary gearset, much less the sun gear. It's pointing out that the basic architecture of the motors and drive train mimic that of the Volt. Specifically the article points out how the online orientation of the engine, generator, and traction motor (which is unique to the Volt), combined with locating the battery in the center of the car, makes the architecture of the i8 more or less identical to that of the Volt's. You're also mistaken about the role Frank Weber plays. He's the head technical person not the project manager. IOW he's the guy who decides on the architecture.
We'll see how much else is borrowed from the Volt. If BMW also uses a planetary gearset then we may have some interesting legal issues. But keep in mind that BMW was a partner with GM on the two-mode system, and the Voltec is a very clever derivative of two-mode. Plus BMW may have come up with some interesting technology of its own. So maybe there are licensing possibilities we don't know about. (Not saying there are just pointing out that there may be).
The Voltec drivetrain is a technological tour de force, providing better performance and more efficiency. Compared to this, the single reduction gear in the Leaf is primitive. From a marketing perspective BMW will have trouble using a single reduction gear because the performance won't be the "zoom-zoom" it needs as a brand. It has tried to address this limitation on the i3 by making the car small and light. That helps somewhat but if it uses a single reduction gear you'll see the same acceleration fade you see on the Leaf. No idea if that's the case but probably so given the electronically limited 93 MPH speed.