BMW is launching BMW eDrive Zones technology in to their plug-in hybrid cars in the UK so they run as EVs in designated clean zones.
Electric car anoraks decry the plug-in hybrid as a pointless, expensive and complicated way to ‘Go Electric’, and in a way they’re right.
But with an EV charging network which, although growing, is far from as conveniently available as petrol stations – and often glitchy in its availability – it can be a hard sell to get conservative buyers to make the switch from ICE to EV.
That’s where a plug-in hybrid comes in, usually offering at least 30 miles of EV range – enough for most owners’ daily use – but the reassurance of the ICE engine for longer trips – and more boisterous driving.
The trouble is, many drivers don’t plug-in their PHEVs often enough and don’t use their EV running capability in a ‘responsible’ way. But BMW has a fix for that.
The launch of BMW eDrive Zones technology for BMW’s PHEVs – BMW 330e, BMW 530e, BMW 745e and BMW X5 xDrive45e – means your BMW PHEV will now recognise the London Congestion Zone and ULEZ (and the Birmingham Clean Air Zone when it launches) and automatically stick the car in to EV mode.
Clearly that will only work if you have enough charge (another reason to plug-in regularly) but if you remember to put your journey in to the Sat Nav then enough battery will be saved for the EV running bit.
It’s a sensible use of tech to take advantage of the PHEV’s EV mode, but it won’t make any difference to congestion charges as PHEVs are currently exempt..
But with the congestion charge exemption for PHEVs in London due to end next year, we’d hope BMW will be lobbying his Khan-ness for an exemption for their PHEVs using the technology to continue for as long as it does for EVs (currently until 2025).