As we've known since 2019, BMW has been working on a very special digital service for its plug-in hybrid models, called BMW eDrive Zones, which allows switching automatically to all-electric mode within pre-defined zones.
The zero-emissions driving is obviously a preferred form of transport in city traffic, and in some cases, in the future, it might be also the only legal form.
So far, the German manufacturer introduced the eDrive Zones in all versions of three models: BMW 745e, BMW X5 xDrive45e and BMW 330e. Further models will follow successively.
"The BMW eDrive Zones service, now standard in various BMW plug-in hybrid models, uses geo-fencing technology via GPS. Switching to the purely electric driving mode is automatic. When the service is activated, each available eDrive Zone on the navigation map is graphically highlighted in the Control Display. There you will also see a notice that the vehicle automatically switches to ELECTRIC mode as soon as it reaches an eDrive zone. The plug-in hybrid vehicle is locally emission-free for as long as the charge level of the high-voltage battery allows within the eDrive zone. If the energy reserves run out, the activation of the combustion engine is also shown in the Control Display."
The system currently includes nearly 80 cities across Europe - mostly in Germany (58 cities and regions), plus 20 "core areas" of major cities in Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium and France. The list is gradually expanding.
To encourage to use the eDrive Zones system, BMW intends to launch also a loyalty program:
"In addition, the BMW Points loyalty programme will be introduced later in the year, with which drivers of BMW plug-in hybrid models will be rewarded with attractive premiums via a point system. Every electrically driven kilometre counts, and within an eDrive Zone, twice as many points can be collected. By collecting a sufficient number of points, participants can gain access to attractive rewards such as free charging volumes on BMW Charging."
Automatic emission-free city driving: Green light for BMW eDrive Zones in nearly 80 cities across Europe.
Independent switchover to purely electric operating mode when entering designated city areas, e.g. low emission zones - Technology innovation as a contribution to improving life quality in almost 80 European cities - Digital service now available in various BMW plug-in hybrid models.
Munich. With the new digital service BMW eDrive Zones for more electric driving the BMW Group is making a further contribution to better quality of life in urban areas. The unique function offers new options for making the most out of the capabilities of BMW plug-in hybrid models for locally emission-free driving in city traffic. BMW eDrive Zones trigger an automatic change to the purely electric operating mode as soon as the vehicle enters a designated area, e.g. low emission zones. BMW eDrive Zones are now available in various BMW plug-in hybrid models.
In addition, the BMW Points loyalty programme will be introduced later in the year, with which drivers of BMW plug-in hybrid models will be rewarded with attractive premiums via a point system. Every electrically driven kilometre counts, and within an eDrive Zone, twice as many points can be collected. By collecting a sufficient number of points, participants can gain access to attractive rewards such as free charging volumes on BMW Charging.
The BMW Group is setting important impulses for more sustainability on the roads, both with the continuous expansion of the range of vehicles with electrified drive systems and with the consistent advancement of BMW eDrive technology. BMW Plug-in hybrid models of the BMW and MINI premium brands are now available in all relevant vehicle segments.
The BMW eDrive Zones now help to make use of the potential of plug-in hybrid vehicles in reducing emissions in urban traffic even more intensively than before. This innovative service brings together the BMW Group's expertise in the fields of electromobility and digitalisation. Both fields of development are components of the future topics D+ACES (Design, Automated Driving, Connectivity, Electrification and Services) which are anchored in the corporate strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT.
With the introduction of the innovative BMW eDrive Zone and BMW Points digital services, the BMW Group is showing its determination to use technological innovations consistently and even independently of legal regulations in the interests of greater sustainability in the field of individual mobility. This corporate strategy generates impulses for the entire automotive industry and for cities all over the world. The technology approach developed by the BMW Group for the eDrive Zone service would also be conceivable for plug-in hybrid models from other brands. Besides that, there is the option of defining an eDrive Zone for each metropolitan area. This could give cities a comparatively simple way of promoting electromobility even further and thus contributing to improving urban quality of life.
The new functions create additional incentives to reduce fuel consumption and emissions when driving in urban traffic and help to rise quality of life in the urban environment. For the driver, the increasing share of electric driving also contributes to a reduction in operating costs. A purely electric trip results in significantly lower energy costs than using the combustion engine as is shown by comparative calculations for current plug-in hybrid models. This applies particularly to city traffic, where electric power consistently achieves a higher level of efficiency than a petrol or diesel engine.
Intelligent networking increases the share of electric driving.
The development of the BMW eDrive Zones service is based on a BMW Group pilot project in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam. There, 50 drivers of plug-in hybrid models were given access to the GPS coordinates of defined inner city areas via a dedicated app. When entering this area the drivers were asked to change to the purely electric driving mode MAX eDrive. After only a few months, it was already apparent that the drivers involved in the pilot project had covered around 90 percent of all routes within the Rotterdam eDrive Zone in purely electric mode.
The BMW eDrive Zones service, now standard in various BMW plug-in hybrid models, uses geo-fencing technology via GPS. Switching to the purely electric driving mode is automatic. When the service is activated, each available eDrive Zone on the navigation map is graphically highlighted in the Control Display. There you will also see a notice that the vehicle automatically switches to ELECTRIC mode as soon as it reaches an eDrive zone. The plug-in hybrid vehicle is locally emission-free for as long as the charge level of the high-voltage battery allows within the eDrive zone. If the energy reserves run out, the activation of the combustion engine is also shown in the Control Display.
The BMW eDrive Zones service is now available in all variants of the BMW plug-in-hybrid models BMW 745e, BMW X5 xDrive45e and BMW 330e. Further models will follow successively.
BMW eDrive Zones available in about 80 European cities.
The benefits of the digital BMW eDrive Zone service can be experienced in a large number of major European cities and their low emission zones from the very beginning. All current 58 cities and regions in Germany that have already defined a low emission zone were taken into account. Besides that, there are 20 other core areas of major cities in Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium and France. The list will be expanded in the future to include additional countries and cities, so that the electric driving shares of plug-in hybrid models can be increased in a steadily growing number of city areas.
In Germany, the following cities and regions have currently designated a low emission zone - and have been defined as BMW eDrive Zones: Aachen, Augsburg, Balingen, Berlin, Bonn, Bremen, Darmstadt, Dinslaken, Düsseldorf, Erfurt, Eschweiler, Frankfurt/Main, Freiburg, Hagen, Halle (Saale), Hanover, Heidelberg, Heidenheim, Heilbronn, Herrenberg, Ilsfeld, Karlsruhe, Krefeld, Cologne, Langenfeld, Leipzig, Leonberg/Hemmingen and surroundings, Limburg an der Lahn, Ludwigsburg and surroundings, Magdeburg, Mainz, Mannheim, Marburg, Mönchengladbach, Mühlacker, Munich, Münster, Neuss, Nürnberg, Offenbach, Osnabrück, Overath, Pfinztal, Pforzheim, Regensburg, Remscheid, Reutlingen, Ruhr area, Schramberg, Schwäbisch-Gmünd, Siegen, Stuttgart, Tübingen, Ulm, Urbach, Wendlingen, Wiesbaden, Wuppertal.
BMW plug-in hybrid vehicles have long offered considerable benefits as compared to those with traditional drives:
- Improved quality of life: In electric driving mode, users contribute to the reduction of emissions and traffic noise in cities.
- Money saved: Electrically powered driving in the city costs less than running a car on petrol or diesel if the vehicle is charged at home or at work.
- Always the right temperature when you get in: Auxiliary heating and air conditioning are standard features.
- Brake and win: The battery is charged when slowing down. In conventional cars, this simply generates heat and wears down the brakes.
- The best of both worlds: Plug-in-hybrid cars offer electrical driving pleasure in town and classic BMW driving pleasure over long distances. This means that they can cover a very wide range of applications and are ideal for e.g. single-car households.
- Future-proof: Since plug-in hybrids are able to run without emissions, they enjoy privileges similar to those of all-electric vehicles, e.g. lower tolls when entering the London congestion zone or when parking in various cities.
Positive overall CO2 balance for BMW plug-in hybrids.
Sometimes the "real" life cycle assessment of plug-in hybrid vehicles is questioned, especially in markets with a low share of green electricity in the public grid. For BMW plug-in-hybrid models, the BMW Group has had CO2 certificates drawn up for the entire cycle from raw material procurement, supply chain, production and use phase to recycling.
When charging with European average electricity during the use phase, the BMW plug-in-hybrid models show substantial CO2 savings compared to their conventionally driven counterparts. The BMW Group does not launch an electrified vehicle without proof of this kind.