Look around and take heed to your environmental surroundings. Pay close attention to weather patterns and ocean toxicity. What about the air we breathe and the water we drink? It is no coincidence that snow fell on the Eastern Seaboard in late April. Global Warming or Global Cooling will continue to take its toll if humans treat Planet Earth as if it’s a temporary home. Well, at least we know there are corporate conscious companies like BMW making a difference to decrease pollution and the need for petroleum by way of their Concept X5 Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (X5 PHEV). Clean energy anyone?
The plug-in hybrid BMW i8 sports car was a first for the automaker and an indication that this application should be expanded into future models such as the X5 PHEV. The plug-in hybrid technology is an evolution of BMW’s era of electro mobility defined by the i3 battery electric vehicles, on sale now with a starting point of $41,350 before any credits. Representing the first vehicle heralded from the BMW i sub-brand, the i3 is sustainable, instilled with sporty driving dynamics and provides earth conscious owners with a greener piece of mind. The i3 is constructed with the company’s LifeDrive architecture concept comprising the Drive Module and the Life Module which is constructed from a Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic passenger cell 50% lighter and 30% stiffer than aluminum. During a recent technology showcase preceding the 2014 New York International Auto Show, BMW hosted a small workshop for media to understand components of the X5 PHEV and also take a prototype for a short drive.
The PHEV is already working off of one of BMW’s stellar utility platforms. Launched in 1999, the X5 was coined a Sport Activity Vehicle (SAV) by BMW opposed to Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) due to its superb, dual personalities whereas the typical body-on-frame SUVs of that era were strictly utility. The X5 hit the ground running as the “Ultimate Driving Machine” with a penchant for hauling families and making frequent appearances at youth soccer fields and campgrounds. It was then updated in 2007 with much fanfare, again displaying remarkable off-road properties as well as setting racetracks afire with variants such as the X5 M. For the third generation, the X5 underwent a bevy of mechanical, technological, and design enhancements that were genuine to the SAV’s evolution. Larger and wider “kidney” grille air intakes, a more upright grille to meet safety regulations, fog lights in the front apron, full LED L-shaped taillamps similar to all other BMW models, edgier wheels, and an updated 2-fold tailgate with a new power opening function define the exterior cues of the 2014 X5. Specifically for the X5 PHEV, the bars of the grille and air intakes and the rear bumper inserts are highlighted in “i Blue” and the body is flanked by “Silverflake” metallic. It’s topped off with stunning 21-inch “5-star” alloy rims, unique roof rails and body colored wheel arches. You can expect more of the same ambient Blue illumination within the interior.
The formula for the future success of the X5 PHEV consists of the following:
• TwinPower Turbo 4-cylinder engine with 245 horsepower / 255 lb-ft of torque
• xDrive Intelligent all-wheel drive
• E-Motor with 95 horsepower / 184 lb-ft of torque
• BMW i development
• Power electronics similar to BMW i3 / i8
• State-of-the-art lithium-ion battery pack technology with BMW i battery management
• Highly efficient direct cooling
• BMW performance and reliability
With BMW EfficientDynamics working its magic, the PHEV can travel 20 miles and up to 75 mph in all-electric mode. The Driving Experience Control switch allows the driver to swap between three modes including AUTO eDrive, MAX eDrive and SAVE Battery depending on the situation at hand. When working in unison both engines provide the SAV with a 0 to 62 mph time just under 7 seconds. Moreover, the driver can choose COMFORT, SPORT or ECO PRO mode to capitalize on efficiency or performance. Charging your vehicle can be done through any standard outlet, a Wallbox Pro which would be specifically installed in your home or on the go at the multitude of public charging stations such as at MOM’s Organic Market in Rockville, MD where I live. BMW ConnectedDrive will assist along your route with locating charge stations in unfamiliar territories and also pairs with your smartphone.
As you can see there is no better time than the present to begin thinking sustainably about the future for a better and healthier world. The Earth needs it, the animals need it and we the people need it. Thank you BMW and Happy Earth Day!