To achieve sheer driving pleasure, drivers need not go the conventional way. They could instead tread on another path that offers the same driving dynamics but presents less impact on the environment and on the fuel budget. That is the philosophy behind BMW’s unveiling of the latest member of its 3 Series, the new BMW 330e.
Electric power is stored in a high-voltage lithium-ion battery placed underneath the boot. This battery features a very efficient refrigerant cooling, including an integrated low-temperature circuit. With a total capacity of 7.6 kWh, the battery could allow an all-electric driving of up to 40 kilometers (25 miles), which means the BMW 330e is ideal for those living in urban areas.
When the juice runs out, 330e owners could recharge its battery through a conventional power socket (three hours and 15 minutes of charging) or via a BMW i Wallbox (two hours and 15 minutes). Amazingly, the load compartment floor of the BMW 330e remains flat thanks to the neat integration of the battery in the compartment under the boot.
This also allows customers to avail of the optional through-loading system with 40:20:40 split rear seat backrests. In terms of cargo space, the BMW 330e boasts of a boot capacity of 370 liters. Likewise, thanks to the clever positioning of the electric drive system's components, BMW was able to achieve a well-balanced weight distribution of 50 percent over the front axle and 50 percent over the rear axle.
The eDrive technology featured in the BMW 330e allows drivers to shift between SPORT, COMFORT and ECO PRO settings via the Driving Experience Control switch. Additionally, drivers can adapt the responses of BMW eDrive to 330e’s use via a toggle switch in the center console.
They could choose between three driving modes: AUTO eDRIVE, MAX eDRIVE and SAVE BATTERY. On the default mode, AUTO eDRIVE makes sure that the electric motor and the engine will work together at optimal level in all driving situations.
This mode allows the BMW 330e to cruise on all electric up to a top speed of 80 km/h (50 mph). Meanwhile, the MAX eDRIVE mode makes the sedan rely on its electric power only, thereby tapping the electric drive system's entire output.
When this mode is activated, the BMW 330e could run at a top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph) for up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) . This mode is perfect for urban residents who do not need to travel beyond 40 kilometers in a single day.
As an extra bonus, they also do not need to spend for gas. Should the driver need additional power to overtake or to perform a certain maneuver, the combine engine could provide the needed boost. All the driver has to do is push the accelerator down harder beyond its kickdown position.
On the other hand, the SAVE BATTERY mode enables the battery's energy stores to be purposely preserved or even increased if the charge level falls under 50 percent. If needed, the stored energy can be used when the driver wants to go all-electric.
By the way, the new BMW 330e features BMW ConnectedDrive that, along with the navigation system, enables a more efficient use of the available electric energy. BMW ConnectedDrive, basically, takes care of proactive energy management, calculating an operating strategy that responds to the driver’s driving style and the current route profile.
Then, the system adapts the drive strategy to the overall route profile. For instance, when the 330e is on all-electric mode, the system could deploy electric power on an uphill stretch to allow its full recuperation potential to be used on a subsequent downhill section.
This means that the BMW 330e in all-electric mode could efficiently cover longer stretches while having less impact on the environment. On the other hand, the cabin of the BMW 330e can seat up to five people comfortably and luxuriously.
Just like any BMW vehicle, the BMW 330e features practical details and an ergonomic operating concept. For instance, auxiliary heating and cooling comes as standard on the BMW 330e and can be activated by a button on the key. Drivers could also pre-program these functions using a two-week timer either on the iDrive operating system or through the BMW ConnectedDrive smartphone app.