BMW Prepares Concept X5 eDrive Plug-in for U.S. Debut at New York Auto Show

Ahead of the New York International Auto Show later this month, German automaker BMW has revealed more details of its powerful Concept X5 eDrive crossover, a concept plug-in hybrid car which will make its U.S. debut there on April 18.

BMW's Concept X5 eDrive will make its U.S. debut later this month.

BMW’s Concept X5 eDrive will make its U.S. debut later this month.

The BMW Concept X5 eDrive Sports Activity Vehicle — or SAV, to use BMW’s terminology — was first debuted by BMW at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show, but BMW bosses say it has undergone a series of ‘detailed refinements’ ahead of this month’s New York International Auto Show.

Powered by a four-cylinder, 256 horsepower twin-turbocharged engine of unknown capacity married to a 70 kilowatt electric motor, BMW says the Concept X5 eDrive is good for a range of around 20 miles in all-electric mode, while it is electronically limited to a top speed of 75 mph in electric mode.  In combined mode, BMW claims a fuel economy of 74.3 mpg imperial (61.8 mpg U.S., 16.3l/100km), and a 0-62 mph sprint time of ‘under 7 seconds.’

As with any concept car, BMW’s specifications res for the Concept X5 eDrive are a little light on details, but BMW has hinted that when it enters production it should come with a 7.4 kilowatt on-board charger. Given the vehicle’s likely size, weight and limited range, we’d guess a full recharge of the unknown capacity battery pack should be fairly quick — in the order of a two or three hours, perhaps.

For those whose commute is beyond the range of all-electric capabilities, the Concept X5 eDrive has a charge hold — or Charge Save– feature that enables its driver to retain the battery pack’s charge until later on in the trip. This is ideal for driving in congested city centres with zero-emissions zones.

Like other existing SUV models turned into plug-in hybrids, the Concept X5 eDrive seats five — not the seven offered by some of the gasoline X5 models on sale today. That’s because the battery pack is located behind underneath the load bay floor, meaning no space for a third row of seats.

Unlike other plug-in hybrids we’ve seen, which use two-motor hybrid drivetrains alongside a gasoline or diesel engine, the Concept X5 eDrive uses a single motor hybrid drivetrain, similar to those already found in its AcitveHybrid 3, 5 and 7 series cars. In this configuration, the electric motor sits between the car’s engine and a modified automatic gearbox. While it is lighter and often cheaper than a twin-motor hybrid drivetrain or a through-the-road hybrid drivetrain, it tends to be less versatile and less efficient.

Inside and out, the Concept X5 eDrive looks similar to the X5 gasoline SAV it is based on — but with the same kind of blue-tinted accents found in BMW’s all-electric i3 BEV and i3 BEVx range-extended city cars as well as the yet-to-launch i8 plug-in hybrid sports car.  Similar to BMW’s i-branded plug-ins, it will also have a smartphone app to allow owners to remotely monitor the car’s state of charge, start climate control, and interact with the car’s satellite navigation system.

Unlike the i-brand of vehicles however, the BMW Concept X5 eDrive is designed to be a gasoline car first with a backup electric motor.  Its i3 and i8 models are meant to be an electric car first with a gasoline engine as a backup.

The question is, which one would you prefer — and why?

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.


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  • Richard Glover

    We live in a age of abbreviations, this SAV but not savvy. It is another NAFF (not altogether future friendly) plug-in hybrid searching for an acceptable way to keep internal combustion engines in cars. Doesn’t work for me.

  • D. Harrower

    Yeah. None of these really float my boat. I’m BEV or bust from now on.

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