BMW shows its 2015 3-Series Plug-In Hybrid Prototype

Article by Christian A., on November 28, 2014

With extraordinary adaptability, integration possibilities with a broad range of vehicle concepts, the rapid deployment of this plug-in hybrid drive technology to the BMW model range is a viable and credible proposition.

The plug-in hybrid prototype for the BMW 3 Series gives us a first glimpse into the super-efficient drive pleasure that the best-selling premium sedan in the world can offer.

Integrating a four-cylinder TwinPower Turbo petrol engine from the family of new Efficient Dynamics engines with an electric motor, the BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype provides sporty performance standards equal to a traditionally powered BMW 3 Series 6-cylinder, mixed with a considerable reduction in fuel use. Its plug-in hybrid drive system produces approximately a combined 245 hp and combined maximum torque of about 400 Nm (295 lb-ft).

This data, along with the considerably added acceleration from the boost function of the electric motor, brings a clear and extremely dynamic aspect to everyday driving. Average fuel use and CO2 emissions are about 2 litres/100 km (140 mpg imp) and 50 g/km, respectively. In the all-electric setting, the prototype can reach a 120 km/h (74.5 mph) top speed and driving range of about 35 km (22 miles).

BMW 3 Series Sedan’s plug-in hybrid system: ideal foundation, superior drive elements, optimum efficiency.

The 3 Series Sedan offers the optimal start in developing an outstandingly dynamic and fuel-economic plug-in hybrid. The regular gas-combustion models already set benchmarks in the mid- size premium group with their sportiness and prudent fuel use mix. This is from factors like intelligently lightweight designing, class-leading aerodynamics, and a broad range of standard-specification BMW Efficient Dynamics tech.

The internal combustion engine that the BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype uses is based on a TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder that has twice been named “International Engine of the Year”.

Its qualities are athletic performance, smoothly refined running, and extraordinary efficiency. The plug-in hybrid prototype also has an electric motor along with power electronics based directly on BMW’s eDrive technology found in i3 and i8 models. The motor runs on a lithium-ion battery that, along with the battery management system and highly efficient direct cooling system, are fixed in the skill and experienced garnered from the BMW i development. Recharging the battery can occur at any household power point and is fitted in a specifically crash-safe location under the load area.

The power electronics create a single amalgamated system that powers the electric motor, through a liquid-cooled inverter, controls energy flow from the high-volt battery to the electrical systems onboard and offers central control of specific hybrid functions. The engine and electric motor’s drive torque goes to the rear wheels of the 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype through an eight-speed Steptronic transmission that, like traditionally powered BMWs, creates its own added contribution to the overall drive system’s efficiency.

Now, the possible integration of a plug-in hybrid system is considered at every development stage for new BMW and MINI models. For one thing, this guarantees that future hybrids offer the same practicality level as the base versions. For instance, there is only a minor reduction in trunk space in the 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype when compared with a conventional Series Sedan, while the interior configurations, such as the folding rear seat, stay the same. The simplicity in integrating the eight-speed Steptronic transmission into the plug-in hybrid is a further advantage of this adaptable, progressive development plan.

Intelligent energy control with adaptable powertrain management.

Like the models currently in production, the 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype has a Driving Experience Control switch mounted on the central console. Driver can use this to choose different vehicle settings to fit different needs and conditions. The three different modes are: COMFORT, SPORT and ECO PRO mode. Each has its own suspension settings, shift traits for the eight-speed Steptronic transmission, and hybrid operation strategy.

COMFORT perfectly balances comfort and economy on one side with traditional BMW energetic performance on the other. Its electric motor control strategy leans to an easy, fuel-efficient drive. In tandem, the electric motor and combustion engine can also produce extreme power and performance when needed. SPORT mode, meanwhile, maximises performance, by harnessing the fully combined output of the both power plants.

In SPORT mode, engine and motor are on all the time, ensuring instant response to every accelerator command. Finally, ECO PRO mode focuses on harnessing the electrification’s full potential for efficiency. Intelligent hybrid practicality lets the electric motor and engine work together for maximum overall system effectiveness. Economic energy management is improved by adjustable control of the electronic comfort functions such as temperature, seat heating, and exterior mirror heating, always operating at the most apt power level. This also assists in maximising the automobile’s range.

With the touch of a button, the driver can switch between the different hybrid modes. The MAX eDrive mode offers all-electric, zero-emission drive. The SAVE Battery mode maintains a constant charge to the battery. If the battery is under 50 percent, it increases the charge level. This way, drivers are sure that they have enough power to go all-electric in a later, urban portion of the trip.

The BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype also has a unique Proactive Driving Assistant adapted to hybrids. Incorporated in the navigation system, it manages the powertrain not just by referencing current battery capability but also with upcoming route profiles, speed limits, and traffic situation.

Press Release

BMW 3-Series Plug-In Hybrid Prototype

Outstanding flexibility, which means it can be integrated in a wide range of different vehicle concepts, makes rapid deployment of this plug-in hybrid drive technology in the BMW model range a feasible and realistic proposition. The BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype provides a first taste of the extra- efficient driving pleasure which the world’s most successful premium sedan will offer.

Combining a four-cylinder TwinPower Turbo petrol engine from the new Efficient Dynamics engine family with an electric motor, the BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype offers standards of sporty performance on a par with a conventionally powered BMW 3 Series six-cylinder model, combined with a significant reduction in fuel consumption. Its plug-in hybrid drive system has a combined output of approximately 245 hp and maximum combined torque of approximately 400 Newton metres (295 lb-ft).

These figures, together with the substantial extra acceleration provided by the electric motor’s boost function, bring a sharp and intensely dynamic dimension to everyday motoring. Average fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are approximately 2 litres/100 km (140 mpg imp) and 50 g/km respectively. In all-electric mode, the prototype is capable of a top speed of 120 km/h (74.5 mph), and has a driving range of approximately 35 kilometres (22 miles).
Plug-in hybrid system in the BMW 3 Series Sedan: ideal platform, superior drive components, maximum efficiency.

The BMW 3 Series Sedan provides the ideal starting point for developing an exceptionally dynamic and fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid model. The conventional combustion-powered models already set standards in the mid- sized premium segment with their blend of sportiness and frugal fuel consumption. This is down to factors such as intelligent lightweight design, best-in-class aerodynamics and an extensive range of standard-specification BMW EfficientDynamics technologies.

The internal combustion engine used in the BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype is based on a TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder petrol engine that has already twice been voted “International Engine of the Year”. Its hallmarks are sporty performance, smooth and refined running and exceptional efficiency. The plug-in hybrid prototype also features an electric motor and power electronics which are directly based on the BMW eDrive technology of the BMW i3 and BMW i8 models. The motor is powered by a lithium-ion battery which, together with the battery management system and high-efficiency direct cooling system, are likewise rooted in the experience and know-how amassed during development of the BMW i models. The battery can be recharged at any household power socket and is mounted in a particularly crash-safe position underneath the load compartment.

The power electronics form a single integrated system that drives the electric motor, via a liquid-cooled inverter, manages the energy flow from the high- voltage battery to the onboard electrical systems and provides centralised control of hybrid-specific functions. The drive torque from engine and electric motor is supplied to the rear wheels of the BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype via an 8-speed Steptronic transmission which – as on conventionally powered BMW models – makes its own additional contribution to the efficiency of the overall drive system.

Nowadays, the potential integration of a plug-in hybrid system is taken into account at all stages in the development of new models of the BMW and MINI brands. Amongst other things, this ensures that future hybrid versions offer the same level of practicality as the base models. For example, there is only a minimal reduction in boot space in the BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype compared with a conventionally powered BMW 3 Series Sedan, while the interior configuration possibilities – e.g. with the folding rear seatback – are unchanged. The simplicity with which the 8-speed Steptronic transmission can be integrated into the plug-in hybrid system is a further benefit of this flexible, forward-looking development strategy.

Intelligent energy management with adaptive powertrain control.

Like the current production models, the BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype is fitted with a Driving Experience Control switch, which is mounted on the centre console. This can be used to select different vehicle settings to suit varying requirements and situations. Three different modes are available: COMFORT, SPORT and ECO PRO mode. Each features different suspension settings, different shift characteristics for the 8-speed Steptronic transmission, and a different hybrid operating strategy.

In COMFORT mode, which perfectly balances comfort and efficiency on the one hand with typical BMW dynamic performance on the other, the electric motor’s control strategy is geared to relaxed, fuel-efficient driving. In tandem, the electric motor and internal combustion engine can also deliver high levels of power and performance when required. SPORT mode, meanwhile, is aimed at maximised performance, harnessing the full combined output of the engine and the electric motor. In this mode, engine and motor are both on stream at all times, ensuring instantaneous response to all accelerator commands. Finally, in ECO PRO mode, the accent is on harnessing the full efficiency potential of electrification. Intelligent hybrid functionality allows the electric motor and internal combustion engine to work in tandem to maximise overall system efficiency. Efficient energy management is enhanced by variable control of the electric comfort functions such as air conditioning, seat heating and exterior mirror heating, which always operate at the most appropriate power level. This likewise helps to maximise the vehicle’s range.

At the press of a button, the driver can choose between different plug-in hybrid modes. The MAX eDrive mode provides all-electric, zero-local- emission propulsion. Selecting the SAVE Battery mode keeps the battery at a constant state of charge. If the battery is less than 50 percent charged, the charge level is increased. In this way drivers can ensure they have enough power in reserve to operate in all-electric mode on a later, urban section of the journey.

The BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype also features a special hybrid- adapted Proactive Driving Assistant. Integrated in the navigation system, this system manages the powertrain not only with reference to current battery capacity but also to upcoming route profile, speed restrictions and traffic conditions.

This function marks the most extensive and advanced integration to date of BMW EfficientDynamics and BMW ConnectedDrive. Whenever the navigation system is in operation, the hybrid Proactive Driving Assistant collates all the available information about the upcoming route and relays this to the powertrain controller. This information comprises both static data from the interactive map, for example about speed restrictions and gradients, and also real-time information on current traffic conditions (Real Time Traffic Information – RTTI). The proactive energy management system then breaks the route down into its component parts, including low-speed sections, last- lap sections and gradients, before computing a proactive, route-specific strategy for managing the electric drive power right through to the specified destination.

If you liked the article, share on:



It has been nearly eight years since Toyota entered a new era of sports cars when it officially unveiled the production version of the Toyota 86 – also known as...
by - February 27, 2019
The new Audi TT RS – yes, the top version of the German carmaker’s facelifted TT model series – is now officially here. If you could remember, the range-topping TT...
by - February 18, 2019
Nearly half a year ago when McLaren Automotive unveiled the McLaren 600LT Coupe, the British carmaker is now introducing a version that lets its passengers enjoy the thrill of an...
by - January 25, 2019
German carmaker Volkswagen is now making the latest evolution of the new Volkswagen Golf GTI -- the new Golf GTI TCR. First unveiled as a concept at the annual GTI...
by - January 24, 2019
It has been three and a half years since BMW unveiled the sixth generation of the BMW 7 Series. Thus, it is really about to give the 7 Series a...
by - January 17, 2019