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BMW 7 Series Goes Electric (Slightly)

BMW has continued its “semi-leadership” in electric vehicles this week. Despite a recent announcement that the company is shifting the BMW i program’s focus away from electric cars and into autonomous driving, it seems that it is holding up on its aim to electrify all of its models (announced as far back as 2013).

If it is still moving to electrify all of its models, you may be thinking, “Well, isn’t BMW just as serious about being an EV leader as before?” Maybe it is and it is just concealing that, but the difference between strong leadership via the BMW i EV program and what it is doing right now is pretty grand. The BMW i3 was a pioneering fully electric car. There was much hope that the BMW i5 would be a Tesla Model 3 or Tesla Model Y competitor. There was hope the BMW i program would roll out a handful of fully electric models within a few years. Instead…

BMW 7 Series Plug-In Hybrid 23

BMW is electrifying its fleet by rolling out plug-in hybrid compliance cars with a tiny amount of electric driving range. The BMW 330e has 14 miles of electric driving range according to the EPA. The BMW X5 xDrive40e again has 14 miles of electric range. The big BMW news this weekend is that the 7 Series is getting plugs. But it’s the same story — the electric range will be minimal (the gross capacity of the battery is just 9.2 kWh, and net capacity 7.4 kWh).

Here are the facts as we know them so far regarding the three new plug-in hybrid BMW 7 Series models:

For all 3 models

  • 240 kW/326 hp (engine + motor combined)
  • peak torque of 500 Newton metres, or 369 lb-ft (engine + motor combined)
  • intelligent all-wheel drive
  • have four-cylinder petrol engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology (max. output = 190 kW/258 hp) and an electric motor (max. output = 83 kW/113 hp, peak torque = 250 Newton metres, or 184 lb-ft)
  • can include anti-dazzle BMW Laserlight
  • “The electric motor is fully integrated into the eight-speed Steptronic transmission. This ensures that pure-electric driving, the dynamics-enhancing electric boost function and the recuperation of braking energy are all extremely efficient. The eight-speed Steptronic transmission has outstanding internal efficiency, top-class shift dynamics and shift comfort, and a compact construction. Gearshift paddles on the steering wheel are available as an option, enabling the driver to make manual gear selections with exceptional swiftness and the greatest of ease.”
  • In “Auto eDrive” mode, the electric motor, given there’s enough charge in the battery, is the sole provider of power up to ~80 km/h (50 mph) or “under heavy throttle applications.” (My experience with such systems — from driving the BMW i8, Audi A3 e-Tron, and other plug-in hybrids — is that they aren’t nearly as enjoyable to drive as pure-electric cars or extended-range electric cars like the Chevy Volt and Cadillac ELR.)
  • In “MAX eDrive” mode, the pure-electric top speed is raised to 140 km/h (87 mph). It seems that you have the same issue of the engine mixing in, though, if you fully step on the pedal for quick acceleration.
  • If you want to preserve the battery and electric driving for later in a trip, you can set what percentage of the battery you want to preserve for later.

BMW 740e iPerformance

  • has a standard wheelbase
  • gets 44–48 kilometres / 27–30 miles of electric range on the NEDC (will  be much less according to the EPA and in the real world)
  • gets 2.2–2.0 litres per 100 kilometres / 128.4–141.2 mpg imp on the NEDC (will be worse according to EPA)
  • electric power consumption of 13.3–12.5 kWh per 100 kilometres on the NEDC (will be worse according to EPA)
  • emits 50–45 grams of CO2 per kilometre on NEDC (will be worse according to EPA)
  • 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.4 seconds

BMW 740Le iPerformance

  • has a long wheelbase
  • gets 41–45 kilometres / 25–28 miles of electric range on the NEDC (will  be much less according to the EPA and in the real world)
  • gets 2.2–2.0 litres per 100 kilometres / 128.4–141.2 mpg imp on the NEDC (will be worse according to EPA)
  • electric power consumption of 13.3–12.6 kWh per 100 kilometres on the NEDC (will be worse according to EPA)
  • emits 51–45 grams of CO2 per kilometre on NEDC (will be worse according to EPA)
  • 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.5 seconds

BMW 740Le xDrive iPerformance

  • has a long wheelbase
  • gets 2.5–2.1 litres per 100 kilometres / 113–134 mpg imp on the NEDC (will be worse according to EPA)
  • electric power consumption of 13.9–13.2 kWh per 100 kilometres on the NEDC (will be worse according to EPA)
  • emits 56–49 grams of CO2 per kilometre on NEDC (will be worse according to EPA)
  • 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.3 seconds

Here are some more details from the BMW press release about the new 7 Series plug-in hybrids:

Simple, hassle-free and flexible charging thanks to innovative products and services von BMW 360° ELECTRIC.
The high-voltage battery can be topped up with energy from any domestic power socket, a Wallbox designed for higher currents or public charging stations. The battery can be fully charged in under four hours from a domestic power socket and in under three hours from a BMW i Wallbox. Added to which, BMW 360° ELECTRIC includes the ChargeNow service, which grants straightforward access to partner charging stations and can also be used for the convenient billing of monthly energy costs.

Standard specification includes auxiliary air conditioning.
The high level of standard specification for the BMW 740e iPerformance, BMW 740Le iPerformance and BMW 740Le xDrive iPerformance includes LED headlights, the BMW Display Key, the ConnectedDrive navigation package, smartphone integration with inductive charging facility for the phone battery, and an iDrive operating system expanded to include a touchscreen function for the Control Display and the globally unique BMW gesture control feature. Customers can also look forward to auxiliary heating and air conditioning, which allow them to prepare the car’s interior temperature in advance. The heating and air conditioning system of the plug-in hybrid models is supplied with energy from the high-voltage battery. When the car’s battery is being charged, the auxiliary air conditioning function is powered by the mains supply.

The charger connection for the high-voltage battery can be found under the flap in the left-hand front side panel. The high-set position of the connection makes the charging process easier. Standard equipment includes a charging cable for use with a domestic power socket, which can be stored in a bag in the boot area to save space. Inside the BMW 740e iPerformance, BMW 740Le iPerformance and BMW 740Le xDrive iPerformance, the most prominent hybrid-specific features include – in addition to the eDrive button – special graphic displays in the instrument cluster and Control Display. On the outside, the transfer of technology from BMW i is flagged up by “eDrive” badges on the C-pillars, the BMW i logo on the front side panels (left and right), BMW kidney grille bars in BMW i Blue and blue hub covers.

Exceptional efficiency coupled with driving pleasure, long-distance comfort and made-to-measure luxury.
The iPerformance variants of the BMW 7 Series model range bring together exceptional efficiency and a form of luxurious driving pleasure and long-distance comfort that speaks to both the present and the future. Both the front and rear seats can be specified as an option with comfort seats, active seat ventilation, a massage function with Vitality Programme and the Heat Comfort package. Maximising personal wellbeing in the rear compartment of the BMW 740Le iPerformance and BMW 740Le xDrive iPerformance, meanwhile, is the Executive Lounge option. Moreover, the Sky Lounge Panorama glass roof is also available for these models.

The selection of driver assistance systems includes the new-generation BMW Head-Up Display as well as the Parking Assistant, Driving Assistant, Driving Assistant Plus and Surround View systems. The iPerformance variants of the new BMW 7 Series can also be ordered as an option with the M Sport package, Pure Excellence exterior design and interior design packages and BMW Individual Design Composition.

All images via BMW

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Written By

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


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