Over the past few years, automotive manufacturers have expanded their mobility initiatives by rolling out one innovation after the other. We admit, however, that there has only been a few that we found as exciting as BMW’s newest gadget: the Electrified Wingsuit.
This wingsuit was conceptualized by Austrian professional base jumper and skydriver Peter Salzmann. It was completed after three years of development in partnership with the BMW i and BMW Designworks. How does this thing work? Well, it’s just like your ordinary wingsuit, only with an electric impeller strapped to it. The impeller then allows the person to pick up altitude and let him glide upward. We suppose it’s as close as one can get to flying.
This impeller is “light enough to climb mountains with, agile enough to fly tight turns and maneuvers, and yet quiet enough not to disturb the purity of the flight,” according to BMW wingsuit project patron Stefan Ponikva. The entire unit makes use of two 130mm propellers powered by a 50V lithium battery. The propellers boast a combined output of 15kW and, thanks to the electric setup, can run at around 25,000rpm for approximately five minutes.
For its maiden flight, Salzmann himself tested the Electrified Wingsuit—that was only proper, if you ask us. Salzmann was flown by helicopter over some mountain tops in Austria, and along with two other wingsuit pilots, he jumped off at an altitude of 3,000 meters. Fortunately for us, BMW was kind enough to share with us footage of the wingsuit’s first flight. Instead of describing how it went, we’ll just leave it to you to watch the clip because it’s nothing short of extraordinary. Check it out below:
Pretty cool, isn’t it? It’s creations like these that get us stoked about what the future of mobility holds. If carmakers can build machines like these, who knows what they have in store for us next. Anyway, if you want to see more of the Electrified Wingsuit, check out more videos and photos of it below.