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BMW plug-in hybrid electric vehicles combine the conventional BMW TwinPower Turbo combustion engine with an electric motor. This dual-drivetrain system works together to reduce exhaust emission and provide potential fuel savings without restricting range. Intuitive drive modes automatically optimize efficiency by selecting the ideal combination of electric and gas power on drives of any length. You can also choose to drive in all-electric mode within a certain range, or with the convenience of the combustion engine like a conventional BMW.
A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle carries a larger battery than hybrid vehicles that cannot be plugged in. The larger battery size enables plug-in hybrids to operate in all-electric mode without engaging the combustion engine within a certain range and speed. The batteries in plug-in hybrids can be charged using a standard 120V household outlet, or a more powerful 240V outlet found at a public charging station or in the available BMW i Wallbox. In addition, the driver also has the option of using the combustion engine in tandem with the electric motor or independently.
A hybrid vehicle, by contrast, cannot be changed from an external power source – they rely on energy generated from gasoline or regenerative braking. This limited power supply is not designed to support all-electric driving, and the smaller battery delivers fewer of the efficiency benefits of a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.
A mild hybrid electric vehicle (MHEV) is powered by a combustion engine supported by a 48V electric motor integrated into the drivetrain. While MHEVs cannot be driven on full electric power, the electric motor assists the combustion engine in certain situations – as a starter for seamless Auto Start/Stops, while accelerating from a standstill, or when you need extra eBoost acceleration as you drive. Mild hybrid technology optimizes efficiency and performance while increasing overall comfort for the driver.
The electric range of a plug-in hybrid vehicle depends on the size of the battery, as well as the vehicle weight, aerodynamics, and tire type. In the case of 2020/2021 BMW plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, the EPA-rated electric ranges are:
The combined driving range when engaging both the electric motor and the BMW TwinPower Turbo engine is significantly higher and can be optimized based on driving and charging behavior.
Charging the battery of your plug-in hybrid vehicle is highly recommended to maximize efficiency and power. Without charging, all-electric driving will be limited, and power reserves for the eBoost function will be much lower. For optimized efficiency, BMW recommends regular charging overnight.
BMW plug-in hybrids can also charge while driving. Regenerative braking allows the plug-in hybrid to regain part of its energy. In addition, charging can also take place during the journey with the function known as Battery Control Mode. This mode maintains the charge of the high-voltage battery constantly at the desired level or increases it to the preset value, by having the electric motor function as a generator. In this way, for example, it is possible to use Battery Control Mode during a drive on the highway to protect or even increase the electric power reserves so that a subsequent urban route can be covered with electric driving and without any local emissions.
Even if you don’t have time to catch a charge, your PHEV will still get you where you need to go. When the battery is fully discharged, the BMW TwinPower Turbo engine automatically takes over.