Following the success of its electric i-sub brand, BMW has announced plans to introduce plug-in hybrid versions of all of its core-brand models, with the first model being the popular 3 Series. BMW plans to unveil a 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype in Miramas, France, in addition to a new generation of hybrid vehicle concepts incorporating technology already used in the BMW i models.
“All BMW Group models benefit from BMW i,” stated BMW development head Herbert Diess. “The fundamental technology involved in battery cells, electric motors and the power electronics will be used in our upcoming plug-in hybrid models.”
The BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype combines a four-cylinder engine with an electric motor. The four-cylinder engine is the same engine that currently powers the 3 Series, while the electric motor and power electronics are directly based on the BMW eDrive technology already used in the BMW i3 and BMW i8 models. The 3 Series plug-in hybrid powertrain has a total 245 horsepower and can travel up to 22 miles in electric mode. BMW estimates that the battery technology will eventually be upgraded to give the system the ability to travel up to 62 miles in EV mode.
Besides the 3 Series plug-in hybrid, BMW has already previously announced plans to introduce a plug-in hybrid version of the X5 SUV. No time frame has been announced for either model.