The South Korean Hyundai is the only manufacturer in Europe to market the four main types of engines, since its catalog offers diesel-powered cars like gasoline, as well as petrol-electric hybrids (rechargeable or not), supplemented with its cars. % electric, they are sometimes battery or fuel cell. The other Asian pioneer of the hydrogen car, the Japanese Toyota, can not say the same since it officially renounced Diesel in Europe (with the exception of its 4×4 Land Cruiser and its light commercial vehicles, designed in partnership with the PSA Group).
Some environmental activists will doubt the relevance of maintaining a supply of diesel engines. However it is to forget that this motorization still offers serious advantages for the big rollers which can quickly absorb the additional cost of the purchase. Cleaned by the particulate filter, as well as the recirculation and selective catalytic reduction of the exhaust gas, it meets the latest standards. What benefit without ulterior motive of its higher energy efficiency, which allows it to display a lower consumption than the gasoline engine, mileage and speed identical (- 20% on average).
BMW believes there is a place for sober diesel and cleansed
These good reasons – added to the fact that Diesel retains a significant market share – are enough to justify the choice of the BMW Group to not only continue marketing this type of engine, but also invest significant sums in its development. Same will displayed in his rival and compatriot Daimler, while both must devote a growing share of their R & D budget to electrification, without knowing if the operation will be profitable.
While the share of electric car sales is growing steadily – albeit slowly – in Europe, their commercial success is directly dependent on the retention by Member States of purchase subsidies and funding a network of public charging points. Take away these aids, and the demand will collapse suddenly. This is the conviction of the Association of European Automakers (ACEA) which has not stopped, for a year, to warn governments in this direction.
BMW believes that it is the institutions that claim electric cars, not individuals
BMW's Director of Development is on the same wavelength: Klaus Fröhlich has publicly stated on several occasions that he has little faith in the chances of success for 100% electric propulsion. The engineer estimates that it is the Member States and the CO2 taxes which force the manufacturers to launch 100% electric vehicles which the consumer judges for the moment far too expensive, with regard to the weakness of their autonomy. In fact, the German manufacturer intends not to give birth to his 100% electric car BMW i3, when it will retire in 2022. Not profitable.
While waiting to develop the miracle battery, both cheap and very fast to load, BMW sees a more certain development path in the rechargeable hybrid, which take a gasoline engine in addition to the electric. "If the real demand does not exist for purely electric cars," explained Klaus Fröhlich on the sidelines of the Frankfurt Motor Show last September, "it is naturally strong for hybrid cars capable of ride the week in "zero emission" modeand then take down long stages at the weekend with their petrol engine. "
BMW believes the plug-in hybrid is better suited to Europe than the electric car
BMW intends to market by 2025 no less than twenty models with plug-in hybrid powertrain, offering an all-electric range enough to qualify for the bonus that most member states – starting with Germany – reserve for vehicles that emit less than 50 grams per kilometer of CO2.
It is no coincidence that the gross capacity of the lithium-ion battery of the BMW X3 xDrive30e (from 58,940 euros) was stopped at 12 kWh: this amount of electrical energy allows it to display a volume official average CO2 emission of 49 g / km and one average official consumption of 2.1 l / 100 km after the approval tests of the new WLTP cycle. The optimal official autonomy in all-electric mode is announced at 55 kilometers but, in fact, it will vary significantly depending on the driving style of each.
The plug-in hybrid is only worthwhile if you charge your battery on the mains
The driver of this BMW X3 xDrive30e called PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) has every interest in taking the trouble to remove the cable at each stop and charge the battery. Without this, the 4-cylinder turbo gasoline engine will have to provide the traction force alone: fatally, its fuel consumption will suffer. There is the only limit of the formula of the rechargeable hybrid carwho drags a ballast in all circumstances.
During the year 2020, the SUV X3 will receive an even stronger and heavier battery, when it will lose its gasoline engine and will be declined in a variant with 100% electric propulsion. This BMW will win the enviable title of the first model of the range to be proposed, with the choice, with a petrol or diesel engine, rechargeable hybrid or electric battery. Will miss only the electric hydrogen to take the ascendancy on Hyundai.
PHEV, BEV, Petrol and Diesel at Mini too!
Let's give Mini what's in Mini. The most popular of the two British brands of BMW Group ahead BMW is becoming the first to offer customers the choice between gasoline, diesel, rechargeable hybrid (PHEV) and battery electric (BEV). A few weeks ago, the production of the 100% electric version of the three-door Mini Cooper began in Oxford. As for the rechargeable hybrid variant of the Mini Countryman SUV, it exists since 2017, already. It was in 2018 the second best-selling model PHEV in France and has just seen its official autonomy increased to 57 kilometers. In all likelihood, BMWs built on the same UKL2 mechanical platform – such as the compact BMW X1 SUV and the BMW 1 Series compact sedan – will benefit from the plug-in hybrid propulsion.
Since 2015, BMW tests hydrogen prototypes in real conditions
In all likelihood, however, it is the X3's big brother who should try hydrogen first. At the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, BMW was showing a semi-experimental fuel cell version of the large SUV X5, which should be marketed in very small series in 2022. This exercise will serve as a rehearsal for the next generation of the fuel cell of BMW to be scaled up by 2025, with even better performance. Provided, of course, that market conditions lend themselves to such an industrial adventure.
The obvious technical maturity of this BMW i Hydrogen NEXT is to convince energy and policy makers that the emergence of electric fuel cell vehicles is only waiting for the emergence of a network of hydrogen stations. Which implies massive investments. On its side and once produced in series, the fuel cell and its hydrogen cylinder could quickly reach the cost parity with a large lithium battery and its inverter-charger.