The hybrid vehicle is becoming increasingly common on the UK's roads and with several ways to add electric motion to your BMW there's no better time to get on board.
However, hybrids can be a little confusing to the uninitiated, so here's five things you need to know before you go for a BMW hybrid vehicle.
1. There are many different types
The term 'hybrid' is a blanket for any vehicle that can be powered by a mixture of regular internal combustion engines (petrol or diesel) and electric motors, and there's many ways to approach this.
BMW hybrid variants include 'range extender' and 'plug-in hybrid' (PHEV). The former only applies to the BMW i3, which you can buy either as a fully-electric vehicle or with a range extender petrol engine. This option adds a small petrol engine which exists only to provide a way to charge the battery while on the move - it doesn't power the wheels at all.
The PHEV range at BMW includes the i8, the 2 Series Active Tourer, the 3 Series saloon and the X5. In a PHEV the combustion engine and electric motor can work together to drive the car, but the electric motor can drive the car alone and the petrol engine can top the battery up on the move.
2. Charging them is simple
You can charge a BMW hybrid anywhere there's a conventional household power socket, with a cable that's provided with the vehicle. If the battery is completely drained, it takes only 3.5 hours to charge to full.
You can fit a BMW i Wallbox in your house, which reduces charge times to just over 2 hours.
Charging while out and about is simple too. You can find any of the ChargeNow network of public charging stations in your car's navigation system or by using the ConnectedDrive app on your mobile phone.
3. There are no complicated driving modes
Marrying together two engines at once seems rather complex, and when they're completely different types of engine you can probably imagine it might get a bit awkward to just get in and use.
With BMW hybrids there's none of that. You have three settings to choose from at any one time. MAX eDRIVE mode ensures the car uses the battery as much as it can rather than the petrol engine, allowing you to drive with zero local emissions - though the petrol engine will start if the battery is depleted or you require more power. SAVE mode uses the petrol engine to drive the car and charge the battery, in order to save charge for when you'd prefer to use it. In AUTO eDRIVE mode, the car itself determines what the most efficient combination is at any one time.
4. You don't need to treat the car any differently
With BMW, hybrid technology supplements the car's other characteristics and you don't need to take any special considerations when it comes to buying and owning it.
Aside from ensuring that the car is kept topped up with charge as often as you can in order to get the best economy and emissions possible, there is nothing you need to do with a BMW hybrid that you wouldn't with any other BMW model. By pairing petrol engines with electric motors there's no range anxiety that you'd get with either on its own - you can even drive a BMW hybrid when it has run out of fuel if the battery has enough charge left.
5. It's just like any other BMW to live with
The hybrid BMW models are designed to the same technical standards and built on the same vehicle architecture as the conventionally-powered vehicles. This means that inside and out they look no different to their petrol and diesel brethren - other than the charging port on the front wing.
With the immediate torque of an electric motor, PHEV models are even more exciting under acceleration than their combustion-powered peers and, despite a small increase in weight of the battery and motors, they offer the same dynamic driving experience.
To learn more about BMW's PHEV and i ranges, please click the following links: