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BMW to launch plug-in versions of core brand models

The brand is to present its recently announced 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype at its Miramas test track in France along with a new generation of hybrid vehicle concepts incorporating technology already used in BMW i models, marking the precursor to the plug-in hybrid versions. 

The carmaker said that the plug-in hybrid technology is so flexible that it can be integrated in a wide variety of vehicle concepts. It will therefore be possible to deploy it rapidly across the BMW model range and will be used to bring high-performance vehicles with CO2 emissions well below 100g/km.

The plug-in hybrid models that will be shown at Miramas feature a highly efficient internal combustion engine and an electric motor powered by an externally rechargeable high-voltage battery. The motor can be used to exclusively power the car for shorter-distance urban trips or commutes whilst on longer journeys, the vehicle will usually operate in “combined mode”, with both systems working together.

The BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype combines a four-cylinder petrol engine – based on the TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder petrol engine that has taken the “International Engine of the Year” title twice – combined with an electric motor directly based on the BMW eDrive technology already used in the BMW i3 and BMW i8 models.  

BMW also said that future Power eDrive technology will include much more powerful electric motors and batteries with twice the capacity of present versions whilst the capacity of the lithium-ion batteries – up to 20 kilowatt hours – will be greatly in excess of current hybrid systems . Coupled with an increased all-electric driving range of up to 100 kilometres (62 miles), this will make it possible to operate in locally emission-free pure-electric mode on virtually all day-to-day trips.

BMW also said that hydrogen fuel-cells will remain a key issue when it comes to drivetrain development, especially relating to its sustainable production.

It added that: ‘the route to sustainable mobility in the future will be a multitrack one. The already efficient combustion engines will be even more economical. All-electric vehicles like the BMW i3 are tailored to urban mobility requirements while plug-in hybrids are more appropriate for longer-distance journeys. Beyond this, in the long term electric mobility in conjunction with hydrogen fuel cell technology could also be a viable option.’

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. Natalie edits all the Fleet World websites and newsletters, and loves to hear about any latest industry news - or gossip.

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