BMW unveils hybrid-to-electric switching service

Car manufacturer BMW has unveiled a new digital service which automatically switches its hybrid vehicles to electric-power only when they enter low-emission zones.

The eDrive Zones service uses geo-fencing technology via GPS within the vehicle’s navigation system, and has been launched in both London and Birmingham.

It is available as standard on BMW plug-in hybrid models running the latest BMW Operating System 7.0, with additional cities in the UK and Ireland to be added in the future.

“A plug-in hybrid vehicle combines the best of two worlds: emission-free city-driving as well as long-distance capabilities,” said BMW board member Pieter Nota.

“BMW eDrive Zones technology supports customers to drive emission free in London and Birmingham. It improves air quality in cities fast and reduces running costs for drivers. It’s win-win for everyone”

The services covers the same geographic area as the TFL Congestion Charge/ULEZ zone in London, while in Birmingham, it covers the city’s planned Clean Air Zone, which is due to be implemented in 2021.

The significant contribution that plug-in hybrid vehicles can have reducing tailpipe emissions in cities was demonstrated in an early trial of this latest technology, carried out in the Netherlands in 2018. 

Results fro the research project showed 90% of all routes within the trial zone in Rotterdam were driven in electric-only mode.

“This is the flexibility that customers want, as they make the transition to electromobility” said Nota.

“We urge governments to prioritise plug-in hybrid vehicles in order to encourage consumers to live a more sustainable lifestyle.”

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