Today, BMW announced that it will soon offer plug-in hybrid variants of its most popular models. The news comes in the midst of several unveilings, including a 3-Series plug-in prototype and a new generation of BMW hybrid concepts set to debut at the company's facility in Miramas, France. All employ the same technology that underpins BMW's existing electric models.
As with most plug-in hybrids, BMW's will feature an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery that can be recharged via a charging cord. The configuration of these components is based on BMW's eDrive tech, which the company uses on i-Series vehicles like the BMW i3 and i8. On shorter trips, these cars will rely solely on power from the battery.
For longer trips, BMW's plug-in hybrids will activate a highly efficient, four-cylinder combustion engine, which will work in tandem with the electric powertrain. BMW says that the engine is based on the company's award-winning TwinPower Turbo engine.
According to BMW's Herbert Diess, the rollout of eDrive technology represents a significant upgrade for drivers:
"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."
In the not-too-distant future, BMW plans to refine these hybrid systems into something called "Power eDrive". The automaker believes that the electric powertrains in these vehicles will boast outputs above 500 kW and all-electric driving ranges of up to 62 miles. Given that the average commuter travels less than 40 miles per day, these new vehicles should offer many BMW owners the chance to drive much of the time using only the electric system.
The new prototypes and conceps mentioned above will debut in Miramas, France, where BMW owns the Circuit of Miramas, which it uses as a test track. For more on these and other BMW offerings to come, be sure to check out our colleagues at Green Car Reports.