BMW is doubling down on its electric eDrive technology by announcing that it plans to eventually produce plug-in hybrid versions of all its core-brand models. The electrification process will start with the presentation of a 3 series prototype, as well as a group of plug-in hybrid concepts that can get around town on battery power alone, but that can also burn some dinosaur bones if you need to take a longer trip. The new BMW hybrid concepts will be presented in Miramar, France.
The 3 Series plug-in hybrid will use a 4-cylinder petrol engine based on the TwinPower Turbo, in conjunction with an electric motor. Shorter journeys can be driven in full electric mode, or the petrol engine can be engaged for longer trips.
Last month, Gizmag's own Noel McKeegan drove the BMW i3 city runabout, and was impressed by its feel and performance, but less impressed with its petrol-powered range extender. The drivetrain proposed for the 3 series prototype would involve additional complexity and cost, but would provide the flexibility of a true hybrid as opposed to a range extender set-up, and could also offer serious performance benefits as demonstrated in the powerful and hugely efficient i8 sportscar.
BMW's vision is to take the eDrive technology pioneered in the i8 and i3 and roll it out across the entire BMW core range in the coming years. It claims the strategy will bring emissions and fuel costs down while still preserving the cars' long-range utility and sporty performance.
With the goal of maximizing the amount of time hybrid vehicles can spend in electric mode, BMW says its future hybrids will include more powerful electric motors and batteries with twice the capacity of current versions. This will allow hybrid systems with combined outputs of over 500 kW (670 hp) and lithium-ion batteries with capacities of up to 20 kWh.
The company also believes hydrogen fuel cells are likely to be the key to long-range full electric driving and plans to continue development of the technology, despite the problems surrounding the use of hydrogen as a fuel being well documented.
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