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BMW Enters New Stage of Development for Plug-in Hybrid Systems

It’s getting pretty obvious that over at BMW, the focus is on bringing out more and more plug-in hybrids. At least that seems to be the plan until hydrogen-fueled cars will be available, a project the Germans are purportedly working on with the help of Toyota.
BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo eDrive prototype 1 photo
Photo: BMW
Since the Japanese have already launched a car that works with hydrogen alone, things seem to be promising at the moment. However, the infrastructure is the main problem when it comes to these fuel-cell cars, and that’s going to take a while to fix.

In the meantime, BMW announced at the Vienna Motor Symposium that it will be focusing on the development of more plug-in hybrid models, derived from a concept they showed a while back. We’re talking about a 5 Series Gran Turismo prototype that showed incredible specs.

The car in question had a 670 HP hybrid powertrain that developed no less than 750 lb-ft (1,016 Nm) of torque thanks to three electric motors, one up front and two in the back, one for each wheel. As it turns out, a similar layout could be used on future models too.

For now, BMW is looking to use plug-in drivetrains on a variety of cars, not just the 3 Series and X5. The xDrive40e is the first car from Munich that uses this layout outside the i sub-brand, but even the Bavarians know that its specs and performance are not the best that can be achieved. Call it a... compromise. But it’s all going to change.

“In the future there will be a variety of drive systems for different requirements,” said Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development.

Invoking a range of 600 km (372 miles), it’s pretty obvious that BMW is thinking of making electric travel a lot more attractive and with a lot less anxiety. However, BMW being BMW, they will still keep the driving dynamics in mind while developing this new Power eDrive concept.

“Highly dynamic responses are a key attribute, which in the higher speed ranges become continuous thrust,” explained Fröhlich. “Power eDrive combines electric driving fun with the long range of a combustion engine.”

Therefore, the layout will probably use two electric motors, one for the front axle and one for the rear one, with an internal-combustion unit under the bonnet that will chip in from time to time to make sure range doesn’t suffer too much. At the same time, you’d get to drive around town in pure EV mode for up to 80 percent of the time which doesn’t sound bad at all for us.

Of course, we’ll have to wait to see exactly what they come up with but since BMW made this announcement, it’s obvious that they are serious about this project.
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