German carmaker BMW is hatching a plan to electrify more of its premium 3 series, adding three more plug-in hybrid models to join the BMW 330e sedan.
A BMW 330e plug-in hybrid (PHEV) touring model will be the first to join the sedan in Europe’s 2020 summer, along with two more PHEV 330s in the form of a BMW 330e xDrive and BMW 330e xDrive Touring.
Together, the four vehicles form a key part of BMW’s plan to sell more than 1 million electrified vehicles by the end of 2021, by which time it says one in four of the vehicles it sells in Europe will be either all-electric or plug-in hybrid.
They will also form a key part of the company’s bid to ensure it meets the ever-tighter fuel emissions restrictions placed by the European Commission (which in 2021 must be below 95gm CO2/km on average fleetwide), and avoid big fines.
The BMW 330e Touring, which BMW says will have a combined fuel consumption of 1.7 l/100 km and power consumption of 15.7 kWh/100 km, produces 39 g/km of CO2. This is reduced to little more than zero if driven on pure elctric, for which it has a provisional driving range of 65km according to BMW.
Its sedan counterpart does even better with a fuel consumption of 1.7-1.6 l/100 km combined, and combined power consumption of 15.0 – 14.8 kWh/100km producing 38-36g of CO2 per kilometre. It has a maximum pure electric driving range of 68km.
The new BMW 330e xDrive Sedan on the other hand, has a combined fuel consumption from 1.8 l/100km, combined power consumption of 16.7 kWh/100km to produce 42g/km CO2 (provisional), while the new BMW 330e xDrive Touring uses from 2.0 l/100km fuel combined, and 17.8 kWh/100km power emitting 46 g of CO2 per kilometre (provisional).
Pure electric range for the 330e xDrive Sedan is provisionally given as 58km by BMW, and for the 330e xDrive Touring model this comes in provisionally at 55km.
Pricing has not yet been announced for the vehicles – nor whether or not they will be made available in Australia.
They may not be all-electric like the Tesla Model 3, but it is safe to assume that BMW hopes the electrified 3 series will give Tesla a run for its money.
“BMW is increasing the significance and appeal of plug-in hybrid drives in the premium mid-range segment with a comprehensive model offensive,” said the carmaker in its release.
Playing to the brand’s pitch as the “ultimate driving machine”, BMW emphasises the instant torque so loved by drivers of electric cars.
“The spontaneous power delivery of the electric motor can be felt during start-up and acceleration, contributing in particular to the car’s highly spirited characte,” it says.
In Europe, Tesla sold just shy of 100,000 of its best-selling Model 3 in 2019 according to JATO, compared to BMW’s 42,253 EVs globally.
It is notable that the 3 series is often compared to the Tesla Model 3. In November we noted that according to BMW’s own figures Tesla was ahead of EV sales in Europe including plug-in hybrids.
But as we discussed yesterday, both battery electric and PHEV sales are on the rise in Europe, led by Germany with more than half a million plug-in electric cars sold throughout the continent in 2019.
While the i4 – BMW’s true competitor to the Tesla Model 3 – will not be available until 2021, the new PHEVs will arrive first, joining not only the base model 330e sedan but also plug-in hybrid 5 and 7 series as noted by German media outlet Handelsblatt.
They are core to new CEO Oliver Zipse’s plan to electrify the brand in the face of dropping sales of petrol and diesel vehicles in Europe, building on BMW’s announcement in March 2019 that it would slash current drivetrains by half and introduce ten new or revised models by the end of 2020.