BMW's Concept X5 PHEV just the beginning

words - Matt Brogan
Plug-in hybrid models to be commonplace across the entire BMW line-up
BMW has reiterated its stance that its entire model range will be electrified, beginning with a plug-in hybrid version of its X5 SUV.

Speaking at the launch of the all-new X5 this week, BMW’s head of production line for large vehicles, Peter Wolf, told that battery packaging issues were the only sticking point that remained in rolling out a plug-in hybrid version of every model in the current range.

"We are planning to have a plug-in hybrid [vehicle] in each and every model series," said Wolf. "This is the next step in our EfficientDynamics strategy.

"So far we have the 3, 5 and 7 Series as full hybrids, and at the other end of the bookshelf the i3 and the i8. We are planning to work on that [further] with the X5 eDrive, but at this stage, the plug-in is a completely new concept, and the battery is very specific [to the X5]."

The plug-in hybrid BMW Concept X5 eDrive was shown at the Frankfurt motor show earlier this month. Its maker claims the large SUV will consume less fuel (at 3.8L/100km) and emit the same CO2 emissions (at "less that 90g/km") as a Toyota Prius.

The Concept X5 eDrive is aimed primarily at the US market and as such right-hand drive production, and therefore Australian availability, is yet to be confirmed. The model draws motivation from a twin-turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine paired to a 70kW electric motor that, like the upcoming i3 and i8, is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack.

The PHEV X5 is capable of travelling up to 30km on all-electric power at speeds of up to 120km/h. It has a 0-100km/h acceleration time of "less than seven seconds" and can direct power to all four wheels, just like the standard X5.

BMW says that as we see it, the X5 eDrive is close to production-ready, but would not comment on production timing.

"Overall our concept car strategy has always been known to be pretty similar to our production car strategy," Wolf concluded.

"We can’t tell [you] anything about what is the start of production, but we are working on such a concept [and] we are very far [along]. But it’s not a part of next year."

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Published : Monday, 23 September 2013
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