BMW Commits To Offering Plug-In Hybrid Versions Of All Core-Brand Models


BMW 3 Series eDrive Plug-In Hybrid

BMW 3 Series eDrive Plug-In Hybrid

We’ve often pointed out that, aside from Tesla, BMW may be the world’s most nimble major automaker.  This just-released announcement from BMW further confirms that point.

BMW has confirmed that it’ll offer a plug-in hybrid version of all of its “core-brand models.”

Among the majors, BMW stands alone as the first to make this level of commitment to plug-in hybrids.

Combined with i sub brand, BMW is now unmatched in its plug-in vehicle efforts/commitment.

Full press blast detailing BMW’s plug-in hybrid future below:

New generation of plug-in hybrid models

Munich/Miramas. The BMW Group is preparing to follow up its innovative and revolutionary BMW i models with plug-in hybrid versions of the core-brand models. In Miramas, France, it will present a BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype and a new generation of hybrid vehicle concepts incorporating technology already used in BMW i models. Long term, the BMW Group is planning to offer plug-in hybrid versions of all its core-brand models.

Herbert Diess, Member of the Board of Management BMW AG, Development, said:

“All BMW Group models benefit from BMW i. The fundamental technology involved in battery cells, electric motors and the power electronics will be used in our upcoming plug-in hybrid models. When it comes to the electrification of the drivetrain, we are deliberately developing a wide-ranging expertise in order to offer our customers worldwide the ideal solution.

The plug-in hybrid models presented in Miramas are equipped with a highly efficient internal combustion engine and an electric motor powered by an externally rechargeable high-voltage battery. Shorter-distance urban trips or commutes can be completed on electric power only. On longer journeys, the vehicle will usually operate in “combined mode”, with both systems working together.

BMW 3 Series PHEV Cutaway

BMW 3 Series PHEV Cutaway

The BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype combines a four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor. The internal combustion engine is based on the TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder petrol engine that has already twice been voted “International Engine of the Year”.

BMW i3 - Image Credit: Tom Moloughney

BMW i3 – Image Credit: Tom Moloughney

The electric motor and power electronics are directly based on the BMW eDrive technology already used in the BMW i3 and BMW i8 models. The prototype’s lithium-ion battery, including the battery management system and the high-efficiency direct cooling system, are likewise based on BMW i experience and know-how.

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. 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.

The focus of our Efficient Dynamics strategy is the electrification of the power train. This is an area in which we will continue to expand in the coming years. The plug-in technology will be one key lever to bring high performance vehicles well below 100 g / km CO2, while retaining the driving pleasure and driving dynamics of a BMW. We will also continue to develop fully electric mobility. Hydrogen fuel-cells will remain a key issue when it comes to drivetrain development, especially relating to its sustainable production.

Key eDrive technologies developed in-house

All the important eDrive technologies and components are developed in-house, and from next year they will all be built at the BMW plant in Dingolfing. This programme is set to create over 200 new jobs around electro-mobility at the BMW plant in Dingolfing. Many tens of millions of euros will be invested at this plant over the next five years.

“Our accumulated expertise guarantees us a competitive edge,” stated Harald Krüger, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Production. “This can be seen not only in the performance data of the BMW electric motors but also in our highly efficient production process.”

BMW i8 In LA - Image Credit: Tom Moloughney

BMW i8 In LA – Image Credit: Tom Moloughney

Since the BMW Group expects to be building a wide range of electric drive components in the future, production will be organised around an intelligent eDrive component-sharing system. This means that one and the same production line will be able to build high-voltage battery modules not just for the BMW i8 but also for the future BMW X5 eDrive. In the case of complete battery packs, too, the new production lines will be designed for a flexible production mix: it will be possible to build battery packs for a number of different future models all on the same lines.

Highly electrified hybrids

With the ongoing development and refinement of hybrid drive systems under the EfficientDynamics programme, the aim is to maximise the amount of time the vehicles are able to spend in electric mode. To ensure that this increased electric operation goes hand in hand with typical BMW dynamic performance, everyday practicality and maximum long-distance capability, the BMW Group’s future hybrids will be “highly electrified”. Highlights of this future Power eDrive technology will include much more powerful electric motors and batteries with twice the capacity of present versions .

The drive systems used in these future hybrid systems will offer combined outputs in excess of 500 kW. Also, 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 .

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23 Comments on "BMW Commits To Offering Plug-In Hybrid Versions Of All Core-Brand Models"

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This is great news that will improve PHEVs a lot.

BMW has shown with the i3 and i8 that they will do ground up redesigns, and optimize them for the task. Other automakers will have to find their A-game or lose in the market place

Did I read that right? 62 miles of range on a PHEV? That is fantastic and really raises the bar in terms of PHEV range.

I think 60 miles is the long range goal. The first versions of the PHEVs will probably be 20-25 miles at most.

I’m really hoping they push the boundaries and don’t do another bare minimum AER PHEV.

The i3 REX gets 80 miles of AER today. Thus not inconceivable that a 3 series PHEV could get 60 miles out of the gate.

The difference in price between a 3 series PHEV with 25 vs 60 mile AER wouldn’t be that much.

The i3 is extremely light and only requires 19kWh of battery to go 81 miles. The ActiveE test EV based on a converted 1 series required 32kWh to go 94 miles. A three series would require an even larger battery pack since it is heavier still. Hopefully, future BMWs will incorporate aluminum and CFRP to shed weight.

But I was hoping for more. Didn’t like this statement:

“Also, the capacity of the lithium-ion batteries – up to 20 kilowatt hours…”

That’s likely the upper end for any PHEV because anything larger means carrying around excess weight and cost for the majority of daily drives.

But I’m thinking when they start making PHEVs larger than the small i3, that 20kWh won’t be enough, if they want to get 80 or 90 miles of AER like the i3 has now.

Also consider the sector leading efficiency BMW is getting from a kwh, @high 3.x miles each. 3-series will be a hit if they can so much as keep AER at ~20kwh X 3, or 60mi. Given the mechanical AWD link in the photo, plus higher weight, it may not be surprising to see <3mp kwh.

BMW listens, not unlike GM. It's sad, but I would concede the foreign maker has the customer base to adopt PHEV/EREV, where despite its engineering chops, GM does not.

I don’t think the vehicle pictured is AWD. I believe that is the 3-series prototype. It is RWD with the electric motor placed where the torque converter would normally be. The front wheels are likely not powered at all.

As expected… Just like most manufacturers need to do to get their emission levels down in Europe because of EU regulations.

Just like Volvo has commited to long before BMW and like Mercedes and Volkswagen basically have spelled out in their strategies.

When I started my EV journey I felt that BEV only was the way to go. Over time it appears that having PHEVs with ever increasing AERs may work well

BMW and VW group clearly feel that way. I can’t say they’re wrong.

I’ve been saying for years that we’re headed for a period of diversification in transportation technologies. For a long time, at least in the US, we had gasoline cars (including some hybrids, like the original Insight and Prius), diesel HD trucks, and not much else. Now we have PHEVs, EVs, and a smattering of CNG vehicles (probably more buses than cars, at least in the US, right now), and soon dozens, possibly hundreds of HFCVs.

I think what we’ve already seen with the Golf — one car with numerous engine/fuel options — will become more common as more companies (car makers as well as fleet buyers) have their epiphanies and the car makers redesign individual models.

Yes, it’s a slow process, and yes, a lot of us are impatient. I certainly am. But as more companies take the electrification plunge and profit from the effort, more of the stragglers will be pushed by market forces to follow them.

Agreed. And it is going to stay that way for some time because battery technology hasn’t developed to the point where range anxiety for the mainstream market can be relieved for a reasonable price.

From an environmental perspective, you have to be pragmatic and look at it as a glass have full. PHEVs will result in less fossil fuel consumption, even though many of us would like to see mainstream BEVs.

Agreed as well. Society’s goal should be gradually less emissions overall and an orderly exit from fossil fuel-based transportation, not picking one particular technology. I like VW’s agnostic approach, and it looks like BMW is doing it too.

So they’re all RWD?


I hope that changes as time goes by. The new technology makes AWD easier and cheaper, so we will see more thinks like Outlander PHEV.

If you look at the 3 series cutaway above, it seems inefficient to have the engine and drive wheels so far apart, but ICE cars need the engine weight in the front.

With PHEVs, there will be the option to move the engine to the back and the batteries forward.

Expect smarter solutions when they get new platforms. As far as I know the BMW 3-series PHEV won’t be on a new platform (correct me if I’m wrong) but an old modified one.

I see no reason why they would all be rwd only. A 3 or 4 series already has awd and fwd options. X5 PHEV will will be AWD for sure.

The BMW Active Tourer will be an electrified ICE FWD arrangement with optional e-AWD where there is a second motor on the rear axle. I think this is where electrified AWD is going. There is no logical reason to have a drive shaft going the length of the car any more.

Agreed with drive shaft and ditto with long exhaust pipe hence my point above is there is no reason why the engine has to be in front either.

PHEVs will have smaller engines than current cars that can easily be hidden somewhere as is done on the i3.

4+ years after the Volt’s arrival and there are still no PHEV/EREV competitors that match its model save the i3 rex (which has its own issues). A 40 mile EV range 3 series would win me over in a heartbeat…20 mile…meh.

Germany might dominate the plug-in market .. . Tesla & GM better watch out.

It seems that Mercedes, VW, and BMW are all on board now. And it makes sense for Germany to move into plug-ins so they can put all that renewable electricity to good use. And if they implement a V2G system, the plug-ins can be used to suck up extra electricity when there is a surplus and can maintain grid stability.