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BMW i3 continued from page 75
charge from zero to eighty percent.
In the US, it could also be charged from any public charging station with an SAE J1772 connector. In 2016, BMW and the PG&E utility in California expanded an experiment of delaying charge-up during peak demand and compensating i3 owners for the delay.
BMW claims that the i3 is the first fully online All-Electric Vehicle, but the Tesla Model S had full 3G Internet connectivity since 2012.
Operating Modes for the BMW i3 allowed the driver to select the car energy consumption through three different drive modes which were: Comfort, Eco Pro or Eco Pro + mode. In the standard Comfort mode the
i3 delivered a range between eighty to one-hundred miles in everyday driving conditions, while the i3 REx delivered between one-hundred-sixty to one-hundred eighty miles. The Eco Pro mode increases the driving range by around twelve percent through a different accelerator pedal mapping which used less power. In Eco Pro+ mode, all settings were geared to achieving the maximum possible range, increasing the driving range by about twenty-four percent compared with Comfort mode. In
this mode the maximum speed of the BMW i3 was limited to 56 mph and electrical devices such as the heating and air conditioning were switched to energy-saving mode.
In Range Extender Option BMW offered a petrol/gasoline range extender engine as an option. The range extender is powered by the same 647 cc two-cylinder engine used in the BMW C650 GT maxi-scooter. The range extender engine operates only when the battery level drops to
a pre-specified point, acting purely as a generator to produce electricity to extend the range to about 200 miles for the European version. The European version had a 2.4 US gal fuel tank while the American version had a smaller 1.9 US gal fuel tank. The actual tank size was 2.4 gallons, but its software limited so the fuel pump shut off after using 1.9 gallons. Under EPA five-cycle testing, the i3 REx had a total range of 150 miles.
The electric motor was located between the rear wheels. The empty space at the right of the motor was reserved to accommodate the range-extending gasoline engine.
BMW i3 continued on page 77
BMW 530e
      MSRP $53,400
2.0LT, 48VLI, 248HPc, MPGe 40/72, 16e, Wt 4,266
The BMW 530e hybrid luxury sedan is the same price as its all-gas counterpart, the 530i. That’s a big deal. This is the turning point in the evolution of electric cars where custom- ers are no longer forced to debate the merits of being green (well, greener) against saving cash. But it’s not just the price that’s the same, on the surface you’d be hard-pressed to find the differences between the two cars. Both cars push out 248 horsepower, although the 530e distributes it over the gas engine and the electric motor (137 and 111 respec- tively). They both look the same inside and out, save for an
eDrive badge and charging port. Both are rear-wheel drive. Both can be outfitted to be all-wheel drive. The options list is nearlyidenticalandwhenyou’resittinginthecar,bothfeellikeaBMW--withalltheluxuryandtechnologythatentails. On the efficiency -- and ultimately, cash-saving front -- the 530e’s EPA-rated high-end of 72 miles per gallon equivalent dusts the 530i’s 27 miles per gallon. My tests in San Francisco and surrounding Bay Area yielded mid to high 50s while driving in economy mode. During extended highway driving that dropped to the mid 30s and low 40s.
BMW 745e MSRP $95,500
3.0L, 48VLI, 399HPc, MPGe 22/29, 31e, Wt 4,266
Sitting in the engine’s place is BMW’s 280-horsepower six-cylinder, which ups the combined system output to a quoted 389 horsepower. Electric-only range for the new 745e is estimated at 31 miles thanks to the 12.4-kWh bat- tery found under the rear seats, and while it doesn’t offer as much economy as it does a boost in performance, it’s still pretty trick. The electric motor’s positioning also ties it into the four-wheel-drive system, which also allows for better bat- teryregeneration. BMW’smodularpowertrainarchitecture means that each side of the 745e’s hybrid system is familiar.
The gasoline engine is the turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six that powers almost all of the company’s midrange models, in a relaxed state of tune producing 280 horsepower. The synchronous electric motor that sits between this and the transmission is effectively unchanged from that in the 740e, contributing up to 111 horsepower for a combined output of 389HPc, a sig- nificant improvement over the 322 horses that the 740e mustered. The e-motor produces up to 195 lb-ft, and the maximum combined effort is 442 lb-ft.
BMW i8 MSRP $164,300
1.5LT, 11.6kWhLI, 369HPc, MPGe 69, 18e, Wt 3,513
BMW made the 2020 i8 greener than the current one by putting a bigger emphasis on pure electric drive. The au- tomaker claims the number of driving situations where the electric motor is solely responsible for powering the car has been significantly increased, with the combustion engine only being brought into play when accelerating hard. Hav- ing said that, at 18 miles instead of 15, the maximum electric range is only mildly improved.
Perhaps more importantly though, the battery pack’s capac-
ity is up from 20 to 34 Ah, with the gross energy capacity going from 7.1 to 11.6 kilowatt hours. That’s where the 12 hp increase comes from, accompanied by 184 lb-ft of instantly availableelectrictorque. UsingadedicatedBMWiChargingStationwhichcansupply7.2kWofpowertochargethehigh- voltage. The1.5-literturboengine’ssoundhasbeenimproved,whileboththeCoupeandtheRoadsterarecapableof
reaching speeds of up to 65 mph purely on electric power. Top speed remains limited at 155 mph. The weight of the i8 Roadster stands at 3513 lbs., making it some 132 lbs. heavier than the Coupe.
Buick LaCrosse MSRP $36,300
2.5L, 86VLI, 335HPc, MPGe 25/35, 31e, Wt 3,490
The LaCrosse comes standard with a 2.5-liter four cylinder eAssist mild hybrid system making 194 horsepower mated to a six-speed automatic transmission driving the front wheels. The mild hybrid system replaces the alternator with a motor/generator, capable of recouping small amounts of electricity in a LithiumIon battery. The compact electric mo- tor is used for smoother stop/start transitions. The eAssist system is EPA-rated at twenty-five in the city and thirty-five on the highway. The 3.6-liter V-6 engine produces 310 hp paired with a nine-speed automatic and is available with
front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive models.
The availability of two different powertrains allows buyers to choose either powerful V-6 or hybrid economy. Serving as the entry-level powertrain, the eAssist setup consists of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, an electric motor, and a six-speed automatic transmission. Get the V-6 and instead of the six-speed automatic you’ll get a nine-speed unit. With the V-6, the LaCrosse is quick and managed a 5.6-second zero-to-60-mph; the hybrid isn’t quick as it needs 7.3 seconds to complete the task.
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