February 21st, 2014 by Zachary Shahan
BMW is jumping into the electric vehicle revolution more than almost any other car company. In the past year it has launched two electric car models built electric from the ground up. Unlike many electric cars, the first one—the BMW i3—is genuinely available in major car markets around the world. BMW plans to have electric versions of all of its models on the market. The next vehicle BMW is looking to electrify is the BMW X5, an SUV, and it recently allowed the first test drives of this prototype.
The BMW X5 eDrive plug-in hybrid, despite being an SUV, can do 0–100 km/h (62 mph) in under 7 seconds. The target fuel economy? 3.8 liters per 100 kilometers (62 mpg). That crushes the fuel economy of any Prius (50 mpg) other than the Toyota Plug-in Prius (another plug-in hybrid electric car). So, this means that you could be driving an SUV with BMW quality that has excellent acceleration while getting a much better fuel efficiency than a Prius. That’s what I call progress!
Now, if you decide to primarily use the BMW X5 eDrive in electric mode, you’ll crush that 62 mpg. The X5 eDrive can go up to about 30 kilometers (over 18 miles) on electricity alone.
Here’s some more cool info about the BMW X5 eDrive from Mike Millikin of Green Car Congress:
BMW’s proactive drive system—which is also applied in the X5 PHEV concept—is based on the principle that energy should not be used unless it is actually needed. The vehicle should anticipate driving situations in advance, so that it can automatically prepare for upcoming requirements. The necessary information is supplied by the vehicle electronic system’s numerous sensors, the navigation system and, most recently, front-mounted radar and camera sensors.
More models from all BMW Group model ranges are already adopting this type of vehicle energy management, with navigation-based information allowing the transmission management and the Proactive Driving Assistant to identify the upcoming route and route profile, i.e. features such as uphill and downhill gradients and speed limits. This ability to “see ahead” allows the transmission to automatically select the correct gear in good time to suit the driving situation.
Depending on individual driving style, ECO PRO mode can achieve a reduction of up to 20% in fuel consumption. A further 5% saving can be achieved by using the coasting function, Proactive Driving Assistant and ECO PRO Route. The Proactive Driving Assistant works in tandem with the navigation system to identify route features in good time. It takes into account speed limits, corners, the start of built-up areas, roundabouts, turn-offs and motorway exits. And based on the recorded driving data, the system also offers tips on a fuel-saving driving style.
When ECO PRO mode is activated, the BMW navigation system shows the driver not only the fastest and shortest routes to a given destination but also the most efficient. Taking into account the current driving situation and route profile, the system calculates which route will offer maximum fuel savings with minimum loss of time. The driver can then decide whether to save time or fuel. The savings achievable on a particular route are shown as a percentage. In the event of congestion or other hold-ups on the selected route, the system will propose alternative routes. The route calculations also take into account, on a continuous, real-time basis, the driver’s individual driving style, based on vehicle fuel consumption in different driving situations.
The ECO PRO Analyser, which is a standard component of ECO PRO mode, allows drivers to analyze their driving styles at any time and to identify further potential for reducing fuel consumption. Before, during and after the trip, the driver can call up statistics in the ECO PRO Analyser to check efficiency of accelerating, decelerating and changing gear, and to see what sort of positive impact an improved driving style could have on fuel consumption and therefore also on range. The ECO PRO driving tips are intended to aid more fuel-efficient driving.
Using BMW ConnectedDrive Services and the free-of-charge BMW Connected App, the recorded data can also be transferred to a compatible smartphone. A rating scale indicates the fuel efficiency of the driving style.
That’s some sweet shit, isn’t it?!
And if you don’t think that’s smart enough, get a load of this cherry on top:
With onboard radar and camera sensors, the third generation of the Proactive Driving Assistant is also able to incorporate the vehicle’s immediate driving environment into its operating strategy. This information allows the automatic transmission to adapt its shift strategy even more precisely to the current driving situation for greater efficiency. For example, the system can identify slower-moving vehicles in the lane ahead, as well as vehicles in neighboring lanes. Strategically timed gear changes can then be performed which provide sufficient deceleration, even without braking, to prevent collisions with vehicles in front. At the same time, gear changes can provide the necessary power reserves for overtaking and dynamic lane changes.
Getting back to BMW’s overall electric prowess, Millikin writes: “All BMW eDrive components are developed in-house by the BMW Group and customized as necessary to suit different powertrain applications. (Earlier post.) Current examples are the all-electric BMW i3 and the plug-in hybrid BMW i8. The BMW i8 is at the leading edge of the Efficient Dynamics strategy; the technology used in the i8 powertrain will find its way into vehicles of the BMW core brand.”
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