BMW launches world-first eDrive Zones technology in London and Birmingham

Marco Green
August 10, 2020

Entering the zones in a BMW plug-in hybrid will automatically switch them over to electric power. BMW eDrive Zones technology provides many benefits, for both the driver and the city in which it is enabled. For customers, the automated nature of the service will help reduce fuel consumption and therefore lower the cost of each journey.

Speaking ahead of the launch of the new zones, Pieter Nota, BMW AG board member for customer, brands and sales, said: "A plug-in hybrid vehicle combines the best of two worlds: emission-free city driving as well as long-distance capabilities".

Certain areas of Birmingham and London will be marked out using Global Positioning System, and if a BMW plug-in hybrid enters one of these areas, it will automatically switch to running on electric, rather than petrol.

The first eDrive Zones are in London's Congestion Charge and Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), along with Birmingham's proposed low-emission zone, which looks set to be introduced in 2021.

The UK government has included PHEVs in its plans to ban internal combustion engine cars by 2035 and this year scrapped the £3,500 plug-in auto grant for hybrids, noting that some owners of the vehicles were "negating the environmental benefits" on offer and undermining the incentive scheme by not plugging their cars in.

The BMW eDrive Zones service is now available as standard on BMW 330e, BMW 530e, BMW 745e and BMW X5 xDrive45e, with additional compatible models launching in the future. We urge governments to prioritise plug-in hybrid vehicles in order to encourage consumers to live a more sustainable lifestyle. All of these cars running the latest BMW Operating System 7.0, will receive free over-the-air updates that will implement the functionality in existing cars, while all new cars will come pre-loaded with BMW eDrive Zones technology.

In a pilot project for the eDrive Zones technology that was conducted within a trail zone in the city of Rotterdam in 2018, BMW found its plug-in hybrid cars to be driving for 90 per cent of the time in electric only mode.

BMW Group production locations in the United Kingdom are also contributing towards the company's global electromobility goals.

BMW said that by 2030, it expects half its sales to be PHEVs and battery electric vehicles (BEVs), up from a quarter next year. As announced last week, as part of the company's anchoring of sustainability at the heart of its corporate strategy, the goal is to have a total of more than seven million electrified BMW Group vehicles on the roads in ten years - around two thirds of them with a fully-electric drivetrain.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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