Remember back at the beginning of the year when we had a running series on the technology of the BMW i8? Do you also remember last week when we announced that Autoblog had named the i8 its technology of the year? Well, BMW isn’t taking that recognition lying down. They’ve already got plans, made official this week.
In a press release, BMW announced that it would be incorporating the plug-in hybrid technology from the i8 into all of its core-brand models. The first such car to receive this powertrain is the 3-Series. This move is logical given that the 3-Series is one of the volume leaders for the German brand.
The powertrain will not be a carbon copy of the i8’s as it will use a four-cylinder engine rather than the i8’s straight three. This suggests that the electric half of the setup is the more important transplant, so we can likely expect engines that will still fit the given size and weight of the core model in question. BMW says this drivetrain will retain all the pleasure and driving dynamics that one would normally associate with an Ultimate Driving Machine.
The payoff here is scaling back CO2 emissions. This hybridization scheme will likely improve BMW’s fleet fuel economy across the board. The eDrive system, as it’s known, is modular and scalable, so once they finish tweaking it, all that will be left to do is put the plan in motion.
Incidentally, there were rumors going around that BMW was in talks with Tesla over a possible battery and charging station arrangement. These tall tales have since been dispelled as little more than casual conversation. When asked, a BMW official claimed that Tesla’s Elon Musk was simply name-dropping.
We’re excited to hear about plug-in hybrid options for all major models going forward, especially the BMW 3 Series. If you’re interested in test-driving one or would like to find out more, visit us at Leith BMW in Raleigh.