BMW truly shocked industry experts by announcing recently that it is going to produce hybrid plug-in versions of very core model it makes. Already the success of the i8 plug-in hybrid is spurring the company forward with introducing its tech to other formats, expanding BMW’s model lineup even more. The move will help the company reduce the amount of emissions its vehicles produce, plus increase fuel efficiency numbers. Both results will assist with meeting or exceeding various government regulatory standards from around the world.
The first model to receive the plug-in treatment will be the 3 Series. The prototype of the upcoming car will be unveiled in the near future, but BMW is remaining mum on the details about the powertrain, leaving many wondering what kinds of tricks are tucked up the company’s sleeve. Details about the upcoming X5 plug-in hybrid have been floating around for some time, which supposedly will include a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The rumors say the same setup will be used on the X3 plug-in.
Curiously enough, this news comes on the heels of BMW denying that it is buddying up with Tesla, contradicting claims made recently by Elon Musk. As many have pointed out, plug-in hybrids are seen as a bridge technology by many in the automotive industry, helping consumers become more comfortable with the concept of owning a vehicle that runs completely off electricity.
One thing is for sure, BMW is shrewd. Instead of declaring that hybrids or even electrification is the future of mobility, it has said it’s keeping other options open. What exactly that means isn’t entirely clear, but with other technologies like hydrogen fuel cells picking up steam in the marketplace don’t be too surprised if BMW starts experimenting with a number of alternative fuels in the near future.