Who says you need a microcar to get good mileage? While SUVs have traditional inspired the wrath of environmentalists, BMW hopes to win some love with the Concept X5 eDrive it will bring to the Frankfurt Motor Show next month.
The show car is expected to return in the not-too-distant future as a plug-in version of the popular BMW X5 Sport-Activity Vehicle, part of a growing line-up of plug-based vehicles from the Bavarian maker that will soon include its i3 battery-electric vehicle and i8 plug-in sports model.
The lithium-ion-powered BMW Concept X5 eDrive boasts about 19 miles of battery range, with the ute able to operate in electric-only mode at speeds up to 75 mph. Fuel economy is an estimated 60 miles per gallon – though European tests generally yield higher results than what the American EPA testing cycle gets.
But as with other plug-ins, such as the Chevrolet Volt, it will be able to continue driving once the batteries run down thanks to a TwinPower turbocharged inline-four engine. The electric side of the drivetrain is a 70 kilowatt, or 95 horsepower, synchronous electric motor. The two sources of power are paired to the BMW all-wheel-drive system and, with both in the loop, BMW claims the Concept X5 eDrive will be able to charge from 0 to 100 kmh, or 62.5 mph, in less than 7.0 seconds.
(BMW, GM first to sign up to use new, industry-standard charging plug. Click Here for the full story.)
BMW is saving some details for the Frankfurt debut, such as the size of both the gasoline engine and the lithium-ion battery pack. Considering the range the maker claims for the concept plug-in, it would be likely to have something above 8 to 10 kilowatt-hours in terms of total battery capacity, however.
A production version would use the new SAE-designed port that is designed to make it possible for all plug-based vehicles to share a common charging system. BMW and General Motors recently became the first two makers to sign up for the new technology.
The vehicle maintains most of the cargo space, and the 5-seat layout, of the traditional, gas-powered X5 SAV. In concept form, it rides on 21-inch light alloy wheels.
Motorists would be able to switch into and out of electric-only mode as needed. That would allow them to operate the Concept X5 eDrive as a conventional hybrid on the highway, where batteries normally run down fast. But they could then switch to battery-only mode when entering cities, such as London, where electric vehicles might be exempt from access charges – or where gas-powered products might be banned entirely.
The BMW ConnectedDrive system would allow remote monitoring and control of such features as pre-heating and timed charging. Meanwhile, the onboard navigation system allows a driver to find charging stations along their route or near their destination.
(For a first look at the new BMW i8 plug-in, Click Here.)
Slow to embrace battery power initially, BMW has been aggressively trying to catch up with an assortment of new hybrids and even more advanced plug-based vehicles. It recently took the wraps off the production versions of both the new i3 battery-electric city car and the more sporty i8 plug-in.