German auto giant BMW has said that it has the capability to force its hybrid cars to an electric-only mode when they’re being driven in inner-city areas that are heavily polluted. This would enable BMW’s hybrid vehicles to compete with its all-electric rivals in cities that are looking to create emissions-free zones.
Klaus Froehlich, BMW’s board member for development, told Reuters at the Los Angeles Auto Show that if this is done, the car will then be able to switch off its combustion engine automatically. The system would rely on BMW vehicles’ connectivity and navigation systems.
The company has demonstrated this system to local authorities in some German cities that may be required to ban diesel cars that create a lot of emissions. That would be required in order to comply with the European Union’s clean air rules.
It would also prove to be helpful for the people who live in these cities and don’t own multiple cars. They could thus rely on their hybrid BMW’s electric-only mode to drive in these cities with emissions-free zones.
Some of its recent hybrid models can actually cover a fair bit of distance in electric-only mode. Froehlich pointed out that BMW’s new X5 sports utility vehicle boasts an operating range of 80 kilometers in electric-only mode.