BMW 3 Series Plug-in Hybrid Prototype Spun Off BMW i Models | Edmunds

BMW 3 Series Plug-in Hybrid Prototype Spun Off BMW i Models

MUNICH, Germany — A BMW 3 Series Plug-in Hybrid prototype debuted on Monday, previewing a radical new strategy from the German automaker that promises plug-in hybrid versions of all of its core models.

The 3 Series Plug-in Hybrid will take aim at a growing list of alternative-fuel vehicles, including the Chevrolet Volt, Cadillac ELR, Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid and Ford Fusion Energi.

The BMW prototype combines a four-cylinder gasoline engine with an electric motor.

"The electric motor and power electronics are directly based on the BMW eDrive technology already used in the BMW i3 and BMW i8 models," said the automaker in a statement. "The prototype's lithium-ion battery, including the battery management system and the high-efficiency direct cooling system are likewise based on BMW i experience and know-how."

There's no word yet on pricing or launch timing on any of the new BMW plug-in hybrids.

"The plug-in hybrid technology is so flexible that it can be integrated in a wide variety of vehicle concepts," BMW said. "It will therefore be possible to deploy it rapidly across the BMW model range."

BMW said this technology could be adapted in a hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle, which would compete with the new Toyota Mirai.

While BMW did not provide complete technical specifications on the BMW 3 Series Plug-in Hybrid, it said that these future hybrid systems "will offer combined outputs in excess of 500 kW" or 670 horsepower. The vehicles will have an all-electric driving range of up to 62 miles.

The BMW plug-in hybrid vehicles will be built at the BMW plant in Dingolfing, Germany.

The automaker said "many tens of millions of Euros will be invested at this plant over the next five years."

The production strategy means "that one and the same production line will be able to build high-voltage battery modules not just for the BMW i8 but also for the future BMW X5 eDrive," BMW said.

Edmunds says: BMW is making a major bet on plug-in hybrids, based on the success of its i lineup.

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