BMW has shown its commitment to the development of hybrid and electric powertrains in recent years, with vehicles in its ActiveHybrid range, electrics like its BMW ActiveE and range-extended EVs like the i3 and i8. Plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles are clearly top-of-mind for the German automaker. We saw spy shots of the PHEV BMW X5 eDrive prototypes about a year ago, and now our shooters have come through with a 3 Series-bodied version of the technology, as well.

In addition to the obvious "Hybrid Test Vehicle" designation you see on the bodysides of this 3er, we also note that a second 'fuel cap' – presumably hiding the electric charge point – is in evidence. It's a fairly safe assumption that this 3 Series is making use of the same turbocharged four-cylinder engine and electric motor configuration that the X5 eDrive used. In the case of the X5, that meant a top electric-only speed of 75 miles per hour, with a range of just under 20 miles, and 0-62 mph in under 7 seconds. With considerably lighter, compact sedan bodywork clothing the PHEV drivetrain, we'd guess that the 3 Series eDrive could improve on each of those numbers.


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  • 17 Comments
      danfred311
      • 10 Months Ago
      Electrifying your old cast iron steam locomotives wont work BMW. You have to think new in every aspect of the car. And lose those stupid nostrils already.
        Jai
        • 10 Months Ago
        @danfred311
        Ever heard of the i3? BMW is the first luxury brand to bring crabon fiber reinforced plastic bodies to mass production cars such as the i3 and soon the G11 7 series for the sole purpose of making their cars lighter. But yeah, haters gonna hate.
          knightrider_6
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Jai
          GM has been using carbon fiber in corvette for years
        Rotation
        • 10 Months Ago
        @danfred311
        This is just a mule. You don't know what vehicle it's going into. And these are the same people who are already making the i3, which is by far the most forward-looking EV of any out there.
      Carguy
      • 10 Months Ago
      As an owner of both and BMW Active E and Volt I think the magic minimum number for EV mies is somewhere in the 35-50mi range. With that type of range the most people will end up driving in EV only mode. When you get in the 12-20Ev mile range (Toyota, Ford, Porsche) its more of a gimmick. The i3 will be a great car but for many the styling is a bit much so BMW will need some "regular" cars with EV capability.
        DaveMart
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Carguy
        Yep. If you exclude annoying and irrelevant places like Europe and the far East with different driving patterns, then only 35-50 mile EV range cars count.
          DaveMart
          • 10 Months Ago
          @DaveMart
          Better exclude low mileage US drivers whilst we are at it.
      Tony six-gear
      • 10 Months Ago
      Greenwashing.
      Aurio Salimonne
      • 10 Months Ago
      BMW and they forgot Toyota in here,part of the development is with them.the i3 is and awesome car,rear drive and the best interior ever on this class and way more smart build than the Korean Daewoo design and build in USA Volt,even the battery comes from Korea and is not a real electric car at all,does have a motor (just like the Nissan Leaf commercial back on the days said and the hatch opening not so smart design either)
        Rotation
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Aurio Salimonne
        The i3 has the best interior in its class only by virtue of being the first ever car in its class. That interior is not good. The kenaf fiber material used in the interior looks like the finished the interior with carpet underlayment. The dash is nice, but then on top of it the instrument cluster is a huge letdown. Why are you dumping on the Volt for having an ICE? The i3 has an optional ICE too. The i8 also has an ICE.
      Bhavik Patel
      • 10 Months Ago
      This is most likely just another vehicle to bump fuel economy within their line up to meet the CAFE standard.
      brotherkenny4
      • 10 Months Ago
      exploding batteries: http://www.reuters.com/video/2014/02/07/truck-catches-fire-explodes-in-missouri?videoId=276753237&videoChannel=1&refresh=true
      Honda Girl Molly
      • 10 Months Ago
      Seems like a decent option to add to the 3 series line-up since PHEVs have more flexible powering choice.
      Rotation
      • 10 Months Ago
      If California doesn't add more green stickers, than making this may not produce much of a bump in sales in the US. I love PHEVs, but BMW has to think of the profit and loss.
        FIDTRO
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Rotation
        Making cars like this are investments that BMW needs to make. EVs are the future. Of course there will be some losses, but you need to spend money to make money.
          Rotation
          • 10 Months Ago
          @FIDTRO
          It's not an EV, it's a PHEV. Making an EV would quite possibly be the better move.
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