BMW has introduced its GPS geo-fencing technology, enabling zero-emission running for its plug-in hybrids in designated zones.
The technology was revealed last month as part of the carmaker’s biggest vehicle software upgrade to date, bringing a range of services for its connected cars.
Said to be a UK-first among carmakers, it’s included in every new BMW 3 Series, BMW 5 Series, BMW 7 Series and BMW X5 plug-in hybrid model, with additional compatible models launching in the future. It’s also available via a free over-the-air software update for compatible BMW plug-in hybrid vehicles, enabling existing customers to benefit too.
The technology automates the process of switching to electric-only power when a BMW plug-in hybrid vehicle enters a defined area of these cities. In the UK, it will initially cover the TfL Congestion Charge/ULEZ zone in London and the planned Clean Air Zone in Birmingham, due to be implemented in 2021. But it will be expanded in additional cities across the UK and Ireland in the future as required. And within Europe the technology will cover more than 80 cities.
The technology will make the most of BMW’s plug-in hybrid model electric-only ranges of up to 54 miles. It also automatically ensures that the electric power is conserved for use during the part of the journey within the low emission zone, if the journey destination is entered into the vehicle’s navigation system.
Drivers will be encouraged to make use of the functionality in future through BMW Points, receiving points for emission-free journeys as part of a loyalty programme, which can be exchanged for rewards.
“This is the flexibility that customers want, as they make the transition to electromobility” said Pieter Nota, BMW AG board member for Customer, Brands, Sales. “A plug-in hybrid vehicle combines the best of two worlds: emission-free city-driving as well as long-distance capabilities.
He added: “We urge governments to prioritise plug-in hybrid vehicles in order to encourage consumers to live a more sustainable lifestyle. BMW eDrive Zones technology supports customers to drive emission free in London and Birmingham. It improves air quality in cities fast and reduces running costs for drivers. It’s win-win for everyone.”