BMW wants your hybrid to automatically switch to battery mode in cities

BMW wants to be able to force its hybrid cars to run on electric power only in polluted city centres in order to help reduce emissions.

“The car switches off the combustion engine automatically,” Klaus Froehlich, BMW’s development board member, explained the idea to Reuters at the LA Auto Show.

The switch to EV-only would be controlled by the navigation and connectivity systems found in BMW vehicles, which would be able to detect when a vehicle has entered a city centre or an area that is more polluted and make the adjustment.

The idea comes from Germany’s highest administrative court’s ruling to ban diesel vehicles from certain streets to reduce emissions and improve air quality.

EV-only vehicles in the city centre would hopefully improve the sale of electric vehicles as well, because, currently, they aren’t doing so well.

Lack of electric infrastructure is to blame for the low sale numbers of electric vehicles in Europe, which makes hybrids the next logical choice. BMW’s new X5 has an electric range of 80 kilometres, which should be enough for most city driving.

The vehicle would switch back to the hybrid system once it is out of town.

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