This is robbing hybrid cars of their democratic rights!

With governments across the world taking steps to de-pollute the atmosphere, especially in developed cities, BMW has come up with a unique solution. The automaker says it can force its hybrid cars to switch to electric-only mode in cities. This is a fix that gives us hope that combustion engines, in some form, could survive for a little longer.

Well Played, BMW

BMW Says it can "Force" Your Hybrid Vehicle into Electric-Only Mode Inside Cities High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 670139

Automakers are stuck in the three-way crossfire between conserving the environment, pleasing the governments, and satisfying the customers. Although the electric-revolution has begun, it will take quite some time for that to be completely implemented. No matter how fast the electric cars get, or how good they look, they can never replace the combustion engines. Sure, hybrids provided the best of both the worlds, but it is the jack of all trades and master of none. You don’t get the optimum performance of a combustion engine, nor the efficiency of an all-electric car.

To get around this, the Bavarian automaker has come up with a solution. It said that it can force its hybrid cars to switch to an electric-only mode in heavily polluted inner-city areas, thus making the cars viable candidates to compete with pure battery-driven rivals as metro-cities all over the globe seek to create emissions-free zones. Klaus Froehlich, BMW’s board member for development, told Reuters at the Los Angeles Auto Show, “The car switches off the combustion engine automatically,”

How Does It Work?

BMW Says it can "Force" Your Hybrid Vehicle into Electric-Only Mode Inside Cities High Resolution Exterior
- image 670158
Thanks to BMW vehicles’ connectivity and navigation systems, its hybrid cars can be converted to automatically disable engines.

The fact that these cars come with a decent electric range makes the whole idea more plausible to implement. Froehlich also said that such a vehicle could be very important in regions such as Europe, where most drivers do not own multiple cars for different uses. For instance, the new X5 has an operating range of 50 miles in electric-only mode. If allowed to fix, it could help BMW in a big way. The automaker has plans to introduce 13 plug-in hybrid vehicles by 2025. To fulfill the EV lovers, the company plans to launch 12 of those in the same time-frame.

Our Take

2019 BMW X5 xDrive45e iPerformance Exterior
- image 794529

However, if you look at it the other way, this is literally hacking into your car and controlling it for you. Not that we are crying foul, but just a thought to ponder over. And, this is perhaps what the future will be like. It’s ironic to see two global automakers have polarising opinions about plug-in hybrids; for different reasons though. Froehlich said that customers have shied away from buying electric cars because of a lack of charging infrastructure, thus making hybrids a more attractive option for now. Chevrolet, on the other hand, will stop production of the Bolt by March 2019 because it does not highlight the advantage of either the combustion engine or the electric motors.

Some reports also suggest that the Volkswagen scandal has caused a global shakedown on combustion engines. Although this was coming in a few years anyway, the Volkswagen scandal just triggered it to happen much before its time. Cities like Stuttgart, Paris, and London have considered banning combustion engines altogether. To gain an upper hand, BMW is currently demonstrating the technology to local authorities in its home country before the ban takes place in full force. What’s funny is that while other automakers are making such moves, Volkswagen’s own company, Audi, is announcing new variants of diesel engines in its yet-to-be-launched cars like the Q4!

What are your thoughts on this fix by BMW? Share them with us in the comments section below.

Further reading

2019 BMW X5 xDrive45e iPerformance Exterior
- image 794527

Read our full review on the 2019 BMW X5 xDrive45e iPerformance.

BMW Says it can "Force" Your Hybrid Vehicle into Electric-Only Mode Inside Cities High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 670145

Read our full review on the 2017 BMW 330e iPerformance.

Source: Reuters

Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert -
Sidd joined the team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read More
About the author
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: