BMW eDrive Zones trigger an automatic change to the purely electric operating mode as soon as the vehicle enters a designated low emission zone and have been hardwired into the German carmaker's plug-in hybrid models.
Additionally, the BMW Points loyalty programme will be introduced later in the year, with which owners of the plug-in hybrid models bearing the blue and white roundel will be rewarded with attractive premiums via a points system.
Every electrically driven kilometre counts, and within an eDrive Zone, twice as many points can be collected.
With these points, participants are able to gain access to attractive rewards such as free charging volumes on BMW Charging.
The aim of the BMW eDrive Zones is to help greatly reduce emissions in urban traffic by bringing together the company's expertise in the fields of electromobility and digitalisation.
Both fields of development are components of the future topics D+ACES (Design, Automated Driving, Connectivity, Electrification and Services) which are anchored in the corporate strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT.
With the introduction of the innovative BMW eDrive Zone and BMW Points digital services, the company is determined to use technological innovations consistently and even independently of legal regulations in the interests of greater sustainability in the field of individual mobility.
The company says that BMW's technology can also be applicable for plug-in hybrid models from other brands.
Aside from that, there is the option of defining an eDrive Zone for each metropolitan area.
This could give cities a comparatively simple way of promoting electromobility even further and thus contributing to improving urban quality of life.
For the driver, the increasing share of electric driving also contributes to a reduction in operating costs.
A purely electric trip results in significantly lower energy costs than using the combustion engine as is shown by comparative calculations for current plug-in hybrid models.
This applies particularly to city traffic, where electric power consistently achieves a higher level of efficiency than a petrol or diesel engine.
The development of the BMW eDrive Zones service is based on a BMW Group pilot project in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam.
There, 50 drivers of plug-in hybrid models were given access to the GPS coordinates of defined inner-city areas via a dedicated app.
When entering these areas, drivers were asked to change to the purely electric driving mode MAX eDrive.
After a few months, it was found that the drivers involved in the pilot project had covered around 90% of all routes within the Rotterdam eDrive Zone in purely electric mode.
The BMW eDrive Zones service is now standard in various BMW plug-in hybrid models and uses geo-fencing technology via GPS - allowing it to switch to purely electric drive mode automatically.
When the service is activated, each available eDrive Zone on the navigation map is graphically highlighted in the Control Display as the vehicle automatically switches to pure ELECTRIC mode.
The plug-in hybrid vehicle is locally emission-free for as long as the charge level of the high-voltage battery allows within the eDrive zone.
If the energy reserves run out, the activation of the combustion engine is also shown in the Control Display.
The BMW eDrive Zones service is now available in all variants of the BMW plug-in-hybrid models BMW 745e, BMW X5 xDrive45e and BMW 330e. Further models will follow successively.
At current, the designated zones are available in about 80 European cities with all 58 cities and regions in Germany having already been defined as a low emission zone.
Also included are more than 20 other core areas of major cities in Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium and France, with more to follow.