Automotive

BMW announces plans to electrify its entire core range

BMW announces plans to electri...
BMW is taking the technology it developed for the i3 and i8, and looking to roll it out as an option across its entire core range
BMW is taking the technology it developed for the i3 and i8, and looking to roll it out as an option across its entire core range
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BMW is taking the technology it developed for the i3 and i8, and looking to roll it out as an option across its entire core range
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BMW is taking the technology it developed for the i3 and i8, and looking to roll it out as an option across its entire core range

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.

Source: BMW

5 comments
Sven Ollino
I still don't get PHEVs: they are more complex than ICE powered machines yet they don't provide the range of todays compact diesels.
If you need the cross country(state) range and can't afford a Tesla you are better off with a pure diesel. If you mostly commute then an EV is the practical choice offering a full "tank" every morning (and afternoon) with a way lower mechanical and electrical complexity and thus maintenance.
Milton
PHEV's are for people who need help getting over their range anxiety issues. It's a stepping stone to pure EV.
In a few years from now I'd love to see the stats on how many PHEV drivers convert to pure EV on their next new vehicle purchase. (I'm gonna guess the huge majority will). Just go look at the Chevy Volt user stats and you will find that even with its "measly" 35 mile EV range, those that charge daily are seldom exceeding it. Cracks me up how some of those guy have driven 99.8% in EV only mode...
You think maybe they should have purchased a pure EV w/ a 50... even 100 mile range instead of the PHEV? (you bet ya, or who knows... maybe they just like carrying around a useless gas-tank full of fuel).
My advice for anyone interested in skipping the PHEV stepping stone and going straight for the EV: Do it!
Rent a gasser for road-trips (or buy a Tesla), anything else and you can probably get away with an inexpensive EV.
Chances are, if you buy a Tesla for daily-driving... you will be carrying around an extra 1,000 pounds of un-used range for your daily driving. It's no wonder Tesla is the least efficient EV. (note: even the least efficient EV's still kick the pants off of any gasser when it comes to efficiency though). Point being: There's a peak-efficiency range number for everyone... but chances are it's not int he 300+ mile range that Tesla would have you believe. It's likely closer to the 40-50 mile range. 100 miles is ample for most.
Michael Wilson
here in the US at least, buyers are darn near allergic to diesel, with the exception of our truck shoppers. Even then, they want diesel for its power, and efficiency, while considered, takes a back seat to superior torque. PHEV vehicles are a way for a manufacturer to shore up its CAFE limitations by making so many fuel efficient and smog efficient or partially exempt vehicles. It means less tax on the manufacturer here in the US.
Personally, I would like to see a PHEV with a diesel engine, and combine the best of both worlds for a daily driver. I know about the wonderful volvo wagon diesel PHEV.
My job is moving their office in a few months and my commute will be about 75-90 miles per day. I also frequently road trip, doing about 300-500 miles per month and 1000 miles every other month. A pure electric, even the wonderful tesla will not be in my future for awhile.
Range anxiety is one of the true fears associated with electrics, but currently its hard to beat the power density a bunch of liquid hydrocarbons give. PHEV fulfills a necessary niche, but there need to be some diesel versions and while we're at it, hire some decent stylists too. I"m tired of all these fugly electric vehicles.
tyme2par4
@Milton Yes, there are a number of PHEV drivers that could easily convert to a BEV. But there are plenty who can't. I have been driving a Volt for 2.5 years now, and it suits my needs very well. The majority of my driving is commuting 22 miles RT to work. The Volt does that on electricity no problem. But the other 15% of my driving is usually several hundred miles to visit relatives. If I had a BEV, I would have to rent a car, and really don't want that hassle. Even with the Volt, I can average nearly 40mpg on a 400 mile trip.
steveraxx
Having owned bmw's, these are not radically well engineered cars. Far too much money for a car that as the miles add up does not prove to be reliable. Far too many cheap, poorly engineered plastic parts. How any "engineer" justifies using all plastic parts for the cooling system is the opposite of the myth that is "German Engineering."
If bmw cannot build ICE cars well, how in the world are they going to engineer entirely new technologies well. Ask a reputable mechanic, hey I was considering getting a bmw (same for mercedes and porsche) if he truly knows his craft he will tell you the truth. If you are just renting the car for the short-term, sure. If you plan to own it? Do not buy one.