Plug-in hybrids have drawn flak in some environmental circles because even though they are designed to be driven using electric power, many are not. But BMW is determined to improve the vehicles’ image. Its solution, to make consumers more aware of the vehicles’ benefits.
So why the interest to change consumer opinion? Well, BMW must sell more plug-in hybrids so it can bring down its emissions and comply with European regulations. Challenged with this mandate to cut fleet carbon dioxide emissions, BMW has launched a pilot program in Rotterdam, Netherlands, to encourage plug-in hybrid drivers to switch off their combustion engines and use battery power while driving.
Figuring out how to reduce CO2 emissions is a challenge for automakers across Europe, and BMW is eager to be at the forefront. As Europe pushes for emission improvements, BMW’s average level was flat last year. And the automaker expects just a slight improvement this year as sales continue to decline for diesels, which emit less CO2 than petrol-powered models.
In March, BMW CEO Harald Krüger called 2019 “our year of the plug-in hybrid,” as the automaker prepares to add models such as the X5 xDrive45e, which has an electric-only range of 50 miles before switching to its inline-six gasoline engine.