3-Series Plug-in Hybrid Is First Of Many More To Come

BMW says it will soon show its 3-Series plug-in hybrid as the first of its core brand models to receive the PHEV treatment.

The 3-Series will be shown soon in Miramas, France, and utilizes lessons learned from BMW’s new i-Series which has created a flexible technology the automaker says can be “rapidly deployed” on cars with up to 62 miles all-electric range.

“The drive systems used in these future hybrid systems will offer combined outputs in excess of 500 kilowatts [670 horsepower],” says BMW in a statement. “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 kilometers (62 miles), this will make it possible to operate in locally emission-free pure-electric mode on virtually all day-to-day trips.”

Unless BMW intends to reduce the “buffer” of unused battery capacity to a thin sliver compared to present plug-in cars, the math of up to 62 miles range from only up to 20 kwh does not add up, so we shall see on this.


In any case, the automaker is following a similar announcement that Porsche made last year of hybridizing its cars. BMW says its eDrive tech is built in house ensuring quality while retaining profitability.

SEE ALSO: All Porsche Models Will Become Available In Hybrid Form
The automaker says touts its eDrive technology, and other i-Series technologies as the DNA for advancing plug-in hybrids.

“All BMW Group models benefit from BMW i,” said Herbert Diess, Member of the Board of Management BMW AG, Development. “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.”

SEE ALSO: 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 3 Review – Video
Presently, the BMW ActiveHybrid3 non-plug-in hybrid is a questionable value, uses a thirstier inline-6, and delivers negligibly better mpg next to a non-hybrid 335i. But the new 3-Series plug-in will use a four-cylinder based on the TwinPower Turbo that’s been twice voted “International Engine of the Year.” It will merge power electronics and an electric motor with at least double the present 3-Series hybrid motor’s capacity, and developed with the i3 and i8 projects.

3-Series PHEV drive train.

3-Series PHEV drive train.

But with all the push toward “highly electrified hybrids,” BMW is not saying it will only use batteries, but other tech including fuel cells are in the future, it says:

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.


BMW will also soon have a PHEV eDrive X5 along with other plug-in hybrids, and of these, BMW says they are “one key lever” to bring high performance vehicles well below 100 g / km CO2.

In other words, BMW says it does not want to water down the soup, and wants fun-to-drive factor not to be diminished