Monday, 16 March 2015

BMW launches first production PHEV

Fifteen years after the X5 was launched at the company’s Spartanburg facility in South Carolina, BMW has used the product to introduce its first plug-in hybrid production car.

Interaction between the four-cylinder gasoline engine and electric drive, which together generate a total system output of 313bhp, can realise a substantial reduction in fuel consumption and emissions, with a combined fuel consumption of up to 85.6mile/gal, and a combined electricity consumption of 15.3kWh. CO2 emissions are given as 77g/km.

The BMW X5 xDrive40e uses technology and know-how transferred from BMW’s i brand. It comprises a 2-litre four-cylinder gasoline engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology, a synchronous electric motor integrated with the 8-speed Steptronic transmission, and permanent all-wheel-drive system.

The lithium-ion high-voltage battery pack can be topped up with mains electricity from a standard domestic power socket, or more quickly from the BMW i Wallbox, as well as at public charging stations.

The high-voltage battery, which also supplies power to the battery for the 12V electrical system via a voltage transformer, is housed beneath the luggage compartment floor, where it is protected in the event of a crash.

BMW claims the luggage volume “is barely compromised” compared with other X5s despite the addition of the battery pack. The standard charging cable can also be stored in a hinged compartment under the luggage area floor.

According to BMW, short, everyday journeys in urban areas can be completed with zero tailpipe emissions, while fuel consumption is reduced substantially when driving for distances of up to approximately 15 miles in urban traffic. Driving in this way equates to an equivalent 94.2mile/gal.

On longer journeys, when both engine and electric motor must be deployed, the powertrain keeps the fuel consumption and emissions figures lower than in comparable models with similar power outputs.

Assuming the high-voltage battery is fully charged, daily commutes of up to 37 miles can therefore be completed with a fuel consumption of no more than 43.5mile/gal, depending on driving style.  Long-distance journeys can return 25.7mile/gal.

The 2-litre engine fitted in the BMW X5 xDrive40e features a TwinScroll turbocharger, Valvetronic variable valve timing, variable camshaft control on both the intake and exhaust sides, and is the most powerful four-cylinder gasoline unit in the BMW’s engine portfolio. It generates 245bhp and 350Nm of peak torque.

The electric motor has an output of 113bhp and a maximum torque of 250Nm. The BMW X5 xDrive40e can accelerate from 0 to 62mile/h 6.8s and has an electronically limited top speed of 130mile/h. In all-electric drive mode the vehicle is capable of an electronically-limited top speed of 75mile/h.

The BMW X5 xDrive40e is assembled in parallel with both the other model variants of the BMW X5 and the BMW X6 on a shared production line at Spartanburg. Special assembly steps have been added to the manufacturing process to integrate the hybrid-specific components, and the high-voltage battery is also manufactured on-site. It will be available later this year.

Spartanburg also builds the BMW X6, BMW X3 and BMW X4 models.

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