2016 BMW 330e plug-in hybrid offers dynamic yet eco-friendly driving pleasure

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 3, 2015

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.

Powertrain

As the carmaker continues to offer dynamic premium products, the BMW 330e is not an exemption. It features BMW’s plug-in hybrid drive system that allows drivers to run on purely electric power. Since the system combines conventional power with electric output, the BMW 330e carries the potential to travel longer distances while consuming less fuel.

This vehicle’s plug-in hybrid system combines BMW eDrive technology, which was developed under the BMW EfficientDynamics banner, and a BMW TwinPower Turbo petrol engine.

The e-Drive’s electric motor develops 65 kW (88 hp) in max output and 250 Nm (184 lb-ft) in peak torque while the BMW TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder combustion engine produces up to 135 kW (184 hp) of output and 290 Nm (214 lb-ft) of torque.

When combined, the plug-in hybrid system develops 185 kW (252 hp) in top output and 420 Nm (310 lb-ft) in max torque, allowing the BMW 330e to accelerate from zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 6.1 seconds and achieve a top speed of 225 km/h (140 mph).

Additionally, the system features a combined average fuel consumption (NEDC cycle) of between 2.1 liters and 1.9 liters per 100 kilometers (between 134.5 mpg and 148.7 mpg imp) and carbon dioxide emission rate of between 49 grams and 44 grams per kilometer.

Thus, with these numbers, it is not impossible to travel up to 600 kilometers (373 miles) on a single charge and tank of fuel. Power is transmitted from the electric motor and combustion engine to the rear wheels of BMW 330e through a standard eight-speed Steptronic gearbox.

BMW engineers placed the electric motor in front of the gearbox to allow the use of transmission ratios even when the sedan in running all-electric mode. Since this means that a torque converter can be excluded, the extra weight brought by the additional drive unit is mitigated.

One of the useful things of the drive is that it features a permanent electric boost function. This means that the combustion engine continuously receives a supplemental power from the electric motor at additional 100 Nm (74 lb-ft) of torque.

Depending on the position of the accelerator, the electric motor could even provide a sudden spurt of power of up to 250 Nm (184 lb-ft).

Thanks to this system, the BMW 330e receives sustained amount of power similar to that provided by a large-capacity combustion engine. Interestingly, this power can be accessed anytime like when there is a need to overtake another vehicle.

Press Release

The new BMW 330e

The arrival of the new BMW 330e offers customers another innovative route to Sheer Driving Pleasure. With its plug-in hybrid drive system, the latest BMW 3 Series variant combines the dynamic flair for which the brand is renowned with the option of driving on electric power alone (locally emission-free) and the promise of unbeatable efficiency over longer distances. The BMW 330e therefore brings together high-quality dynamics and extremely low fuel consumption. The fusion of BMW eDrive technology (developed under the BMW EfficientDynamics banner) with a BMW TwinPower Turbo petrol engine has resulted in an efficient and dynamic plug-in hybrid drive system which fits perfectly with the BMW brand: dynamically adept, locally emission-free (thanks to its electric driving system) and efficient.

The plug-in hybrid drive system delivers familiar BMW driving dynamics by pairing a cutting-edge electric motor producing 65 kW/88 hp and a peak torque of 250 Nm / 184 lb-ft with a four-cylinder combustion engine, which develops 135 kW/184 hp and 290 Nm / 214 lb-ft of torque. Combined average fuel consumption in the NEDC cycle is 2.1–1.9 litres* per 100 kilometres (134.5–148.7 mpg imp), with CO2 emissions coming in at 49–44 g/km*. With a system output of 185 kW/252 hp and peak torque of 420 Nm / 310 lb-ft, the BMW 330e accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.1 seconds on the way to a top speed of 225 km/h (140 mph). In everyday driving conditions, a range of up to 600 kilometres (373 miles) is very much within reach. The electric motor and combustion engine send their power to the sedan’s rear wheels via a standard-fitted eight-speed Steptronic transmission. The arrangement of the electric motor in front of the transmission allows the transmission ratios to be used in all-electric mode as well. This means a torque converter can be omitted, which partially cancels out the extra weight of the additional drive unit.
Power delivery akin to a large-capacity combustion engine.

The drive unit’s operating strategy features a permanent electric boost function. Here, the electric motor supplements the power from the combustion engine with 100 Nm / 74 lb-ft of torque and can deliver a brief extra burst – depending on the position of the accelerator – of up to 250 Nm / 184 lb-ft. On the move, this comes across as an extremely forceful and sustained wave of power, similar to the sensation a large-capacity combustion engine might produce. And because ample power is on hand at all times, a superior and relaxed driving feeling results. Overtaking manoeuvres are that much quicker and the BMW 330e offers a rousing sense of driving pleasure on all types of road.

The high-voltage battery, made up of lithium-ion cells, is located underneath the boot and boasts efficient refrigerant cooling including a highly integrated low-temperature circuit. The battery has a total capacity of 7.6 kWh, which enables an all-electric and therefore locally emission-free range of around 40 kilometres (25 miles), all of which identifies the BMW 330e as a perfect model for city dwellers and commuters. When the BMW 330e is taking a break, the high-voltage battery can be charged from either a conventional domestic power socket or a BMW i Wallbox. A BMW i Wallbox (charging power: 3.7 kW) will fully charge an empty battery in just two hours and 15 minutes. If only a domestic power socket is available, the process takes three hours and 15 minutes.

The neat integration of the high-voltage battery in the compartment under the boot gives the BMW 330e a level load compartment floor, while use of the optional through-loading system with 40:20:40 split rear seat backrests remains unrestricted. Together with its boot capacity of 370 litres, the new BMW 330e thus offers all the everyday practicality of a conventionally powered BMW 3 Series Sedan. Added to which, the intelligent positioning of the electric drive system’s components allows finely balanced weight distribution – 50 per cent over the front axle, 50 per cent over the rear axle – and, in so doing, paves the way for the dynamic and dextrous handling shared by all BMW 3 Series models.

BMW eDrive adapts both to the situation at hand and those ahead.

As well as the Driving Experience Control switch with its SPORT, COMFORT and ECO PRO settings, the driver can also adapt the responses of BMW eDrive to the vehicle’s use at any one time by means of a toggle switch in the centre console. There is a choice of three driving modes: AUTO eDRIVE, MAX eDRIVE and SAVE BATTERY. AUTO eDRIVE ensures the combustion engine and electric motor work together to optimum effect in all driving situations and allows an all-electric top speed of 80 km/h (50 mph). This mode is activated automatically as the default setting every time the car is started up.

In MAX eDRIVE mode the BMW 330e uses the car’s electric power only, drawing on the electric drive system’s full output. A top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph) is possible. Its ability to cover up to 40 kilometres (25 miles) in this all-electric mode makes the BMW 330e the ideal car for commuters or city dwellers, for example, as it allows them to complete their daily journeys extremely efficiently and with an eye on the environment. The combustion engine can, however, cut in at any time if the accelerator is pushed down beyond its kickdown position when additional power is required, e.g. for overtaking.

SAVE BATTERY mode allows the battery’s energy stores to be deliberately maintained – or increased again if the charge level has dropped below 50 per cent. This energy can then be used for pure-electric driving, on a part of the journey running through city streets, for example.

BMW ConnectedDrive assists the driver in a variety of ways.

BMW ConnectedDrive works in tandem with the navigation system to allow even better use of the available electric energy. Here, the system assists the driver with proactive energy management and calculates an operating strategy which responds to the driving style and route profile at hand – and thus ensures the plug-in hybrid drive system is used as efficiently as possible. The system adapts the drive strategy to the overall route profile. For example, the car uses all-electric power along urban streets and electric energy is also deployed on uphill sections so that the system’s full recuperation potential can be used on a subsequent downhill stretch.

This equips the BMW 330e perfectly to offer locally emission-free driving, as well as covering longer stretches extremely efficiently and with less impact on the environment. Like all BMW 3 Series models, the BMW 330e has a comfortable and classy interior featuring five seats, practical details and the ergonomic operating concept typical of BMW. Moreover, the BMW 330e comes as standard with auxiliary heating and cooling (output: 5 kW). These functions can be activated by a button on the car key or pre-programmed using a two-week timer either on the iDrive operating system or via the BMW ConnectedDrive smartphone app. The details are shown on the Control Display.

*Provisional figures. Fuel consumption figures based on the EU test cycle for plug-in hybrid vehicles, may vary depending on the tyre format specified.

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