Concept of the Day: BMW 3-Series PHEV prototype
November 27, 2014 § Leave a comment
BMW has produced a plug-in hybrid 3-Series prototype. Its powertrain combines a four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine and e-motor to give a combined 245hp and 400Nm/295lb ft of torque; fuel consumption is down to an averaged-out 140mpg and CO2 to 50g/km, thanks to a 22-mile all-electric range (in which it can do 74.5mph). This model is rear-wheel-drive only, with eight-speed Steptronic transmission; there are three selectable driving modes, Comfort, Sport & Eco Pro, which include different suspension settings and powertrain operating strategies. Two hybrid modes can also be chosen – Max eDrive for all-electric driving, and Save Battery to maintain a 50% charge level. A navigation-enabled function, Proactive Driving Assistant, also manages the powertrain with reference to battery capacity, traffic conditions, road speeds and topography of upcoming roads, to optimise charge (i.e. to ensure you have enough to enter an upcoming zero-emissions zone). And BMW’s promising “only a minimal reduction in boot space” to accommodate the extra components.
The 3-Series PHEV is expected to hit production by 2017, but further plug-in options are also on the cards: next stage includes some “highly electrified” performance models with increased all-electric range. The Power eDrive – as showcased in a 5-Series GT prototype – features more powerful motors and batteries with twice the capacity, to give two-thirds of output from the electric-drive system in a 500kW-plus powertrain and an all-electric range of up to 100km/62 miles. On future high-performance PHEVs, the motor will drive the rear wheels, with an additional motor plus the ICE driving the front axle. More details on all the above here.
- Report from LSE Cities, Accessibility in Cities: Transport and Urban Form, looks at how transport and urban form (layout, infrastructure, issues such as urban sprawl) shape access to/for people, goods, services and information, with reference to sustainability and development. Some interesting data on urban car use (globally) and emissions; correlations are drawn with density (less dense suburbs = more private car use). Conclusion is that smart growth – for compact, energy-efficient urban centres – is needed, involving brownfield fill-in, small-scale, mixed-use and decentralised developments and services, and an emphasis on public space and integration of routes/road types/paths. “In the foreseeable future it is highly unlikely that technological innovation will fundamentally change the co-dependence of urban form and transport systems and their combined role in providing accessibility in cities”, it argues, though alongside better city design and fiscal/local transport policy to de-incentivise car use, “technological innovation and related socio-technical disruption will have to play a significant role in further facilitating the transition to new, more environmentally and socially sustainable urban transport systems” (p37); “the potential for system-wide technological innovation in the urban transport sector is considerable” (p38). “Important areas for related experimentation include shared electric mobility, grid-to-vehicle technology and, in the medium term, the testing of autonomous vehicles” (p.39). Broad frameworks, integrated and multi-sector approaches, etc.
- Some news from my home town: a trial with buses in Brighton & Hove by Ricardo has shown that retro-fitting Euro III-standard buses with selective catalytic reduction and continuously-regenerating particulate filtering can lower emissions to below those of Euro V hybrids. Exhaust aftertreatment: (relatively) cheap, effective, could help to keep older vehicles on the road, more cleanly.
- Electric vehicle adoption in North America: the experience in Oregon suggests that it’s driven more by good infrastructure than cash incentives or tax breaks, according to a report at Transport Evolved.
- Car2go is going cardless: Mobile Access, an upgraded app feature, has been launched in North America, enabling members to search for, reserve and now get access to/start up cars via their smartphones. The service – carrying membership swipe-card no longer required – will be rolled out to Europe as well. Rundown here.
- Audi’s factory at Győr, Hungary, is going geothermal: the nearby geothermal plant at Pér (a 2400m-deep well) is to supply at least 82,000MWhr of energy each year, about 60% of its total heat requirement and part of reducing Audi Hungaria’s CO2 output by an estimated 19,800 tons. More here.
- Toyota’s promising V2V and V2X in production cars as soon as possible and certainly by 2017; more here.
- BMW i Ventures has made another investment: in Zendrive, a data/analytics provider. They will “explore ways to co-operate on innovative, car-related services in order to make the in-car mobility experience even smoother by optimising commuting and driving patterns for a safer, more convenient ride”, says i Ventures MD Ulrich Quay. Yes, these days you don’t drive, but have an in-car mobility experience…
- Fuel cell cars are going to cost consumers more to run than hybrids, with EVs the cheapest, according to Lux Research; rundown at Green Car Congress.
- Report from OPEC suggests that electric/electrified vehicles will remain a pretty damn small minority for the next 25 years or so. Obviously.
- But EVs have a role in grid-balancing, and also in maintaining grid transient stability at times of disturbance/tripping out/severe load changes, according to this study. By regulating the power output of the vehicles, grid fluctuations and speed can be reduced, and the grid is generally made more robust, guarding against power surges and brown-outs (via Transport Evolved).