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BMW to roll out plug-in hybrids across range

Electric dreams: BMW has announced it will produce a new-generation of plug-in hybrids for its core models with 3 Series and X5 versions expected to go on sale in Europe in 2015.

'i' car technology to be deployed to all of BMW’s key models

BMW logo3 Dec 2014

By RICHARD BERRY

BMW has announced it will produce plug-in hybrid variants of its core models, including the 3 Series, using technology from its 'i' sub-brand of eco-friendly vehicles.

The German car-maker said it will display a prototype 3 Series plug-in, along with a host of concept vehicles showcasing the new technology, at its Miramas facility in France this week.

The hybrid technology developed for its all-electric plug-in i3 city car and i8 supercar was so flexible it could be rolled out rapidly to the rest of its range, according to the luxury car-maker.

BMW AG member of the the board of management Herbert Diess said all models will benefit from the experience and know-how gained from its i cars.

“The fundamental technology involved in battery cells, electric motors and the power electronics will be used in our upcoming plug-in hybrid models,” he said.

“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 BMW 3 Series prototype combines a four-cylinder turbo-petrol combustion engine with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery based on the eDrive systems of the i3 and i8.

While the electrified 3 Series is expected to go on sale in Europe in the final quarter of 2015, it will be beaten to the market by BMW’s X5 eDrive plug-in hybrid SUV which uses the same technology. The plug-in X5 made its debut in production form at the Paris motor show this year.

BMW already offers petrol-electric hybrid versions of its 3, 5 and 7 Series in Australia, but they pre-date the i cars which use new-generation technology and are not plug-in chargeable.

The ActiveHybrid 3 was the first BMW hybrid on sale in Australia, arriving at the start of 2013. Priced from $100,200, plus on-road costs it is powered by a 210kW/400Nm six-cylinder turbo-petrol engine combined with a 40kW/50Nm electric motor.

BMW claims an average combined fuel consumption of 5.9 litres per 100 kilometres.

The ActiveHybrid 5 retails from $120,400, while the hybridised 7 Series starts at $223,100 and rises to $238,100 in long-wheelbase guise.

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