Tesla wanted to call its new mid-size car the Model E, but Ford owns the rights to that name, so it became the Model 3 instead. That’s fitting, in a way, since both it and the BMW 3 Series are very similar in size, performance, and price. The Model 3 is aimed right at the heart of the 3 Series customer base. The 3 Series is BMW’s bread and butter car. It accounts for about a third of all BMW’s sold every year in all markets. The company can ill afford to see its customers flocking over to the nearest Tesla store when it comes time to make their next car purchase.
Few conventional automakers have committed as many resources to plug-in vehicles as BMW has, launching not one but two electrified vehicles last year at opposite ends of the spectrum. For “economy” minded buyers, the BMW i3 offered both fully electric and range-extended versions to eliminate range anxiety, while the BMW i8 emphasized performance wrapped in a stunningly gorgeous and futuristic vehicle. But those cars are under the i sub-brand, and are not BMWs in the traditional sense, even if they fall well within the brand’s ethos.
Yet there’s still a big sedan-shaped hole in BMW’s electrified lineup, and the automaker is plugging (hehe) that hole with the 2016 BMW 330e plug-in hybrid. Though Bimmer is keeping details of the drivetrain under wraps for now, it did say that it expects the 330e to deliver 250 horsepower, 310 lb-ft of torque, and an electric driving range of about 22 miles per charge. No mention of fuel economy, in the press release, though the website estimates it will use as little as 3.5 liters of petrol per 100 km, or about 67 MPG. 0 to 60 MPH is said to go by in a very BMW-like 6.1 seconds.
While BMW has added plugs to a few Chinese models , the BMW 330e will see the brand’s most-popular vehicle finally outfitted with proper hybrid technology. BMW also didn’t skimp on performance from the sounds of it, which could help broach the gap between performance enthusiasts and vehicle electrification.
Beyond the fuel economy question, we’re also left to wonder what size combustion engine will be under the hood or the size of the battery pack. Conventional wisdom says a small-displacement, turbocharged four-cylinder is most likely, but BMW may have dropped a hint in the press release that a three-cylinder engine may be on tap, saying;
This new BMW EfficientDynamics modular engine will share a common design blueprint, with 3, 4 and 6-cylinder inline cylinder arrangements, a displacement per cylinder of 500 cc and very lightweight, thermally optimized all-aluminum construction.
That doesn’t necessarily mean a three-cylinder setup is on tap for the 3 Series…but if it was, I’d wager it’d find a way into the 330e.
The 2016 BMW 3 Series refresh also includes a new inline-six turbodiesel with 20 more horsepower and 30 more lb-ft of torque, for new ratings of 300 and 330 respectively. That takes the diesel Bimmer from 0 to 60 MPH in as little as 4.6 seconds. There’s a lot of other upgrades, but that’s the only stuff as far as “green” car info. Eventually, all BMWs are likely to wear a plug in some fashion or another, but this is another big step towards total electrification.
Originally posted on CleanTechnica
For battery electric vehicles (BEV) to overcome the built-in advantages of vehicles rocking conventional internal combustion engines (ICE), many analysts point to battery costs as being the determining factor. But an article written for Seeking Alpha> emphasizes that there may be another tipping point in the BEV vs. ICE battle, and that’s the weight of the batteries themselves.
To be sure, the main goal of the Tesla Gigafactory is to bring battery costs down by some 30%, allowing the Tesla Model III to offer a 200-mile driving range for just $35,000. Elon Musk has again and again targeted the BMW 3-Series as the Model III’s main competitor, and with a curb weight of just over 3,400 pounds, the Bimmer represents an excellent “goal” weight for the average family sedan. The Tesla Model S, with its 4,600 pound curb weight, is a much heavier car in comparison, with about 1,600 of those pounds dedicated to the battery alone. In order to bring the batteries weight down, Tesla must bring the watt-hours per kilogram (Wh/kg) up, and it will do that with new battery cell technology.
Currently, Tesla uses thousands of individual Panasonic 18650 laptop battery cells in its battery packs, which cost an estimated $250/kwh and offer an estimated energy density of 233 Wh/kg. Once Gigafactory production begins though, Tesla will be upgrading to new 20700 battery cells, which will be physically larger, capable of holding more energy, and thus requiring fewer individual modules. As battery chemistries and energy densities improve, BEVs could actually end up weighing substantially less than traditional ICE-powered vehicles.
According to the above chart, once battery pack density hits about 333 Wh/kg, the Tesla Model III could be on par, weight-wise, with the BMW 3-Series…ans as the batteries grow even more energy-dense? Electric cars could actually undercut the weight of conventional vehicles…though that assumes conventional vehicles don’t utilize their own weight-saving measures (which they almost certainly will).
Obviously there’s a lot that still needs to happen for electric cars to even be on par with their conventional counterparts, but it’s certainly doable as batteries continue to come down in weight and cost. The BMW i3 manages more than 80 miles of driving per charge, but weighs in at just over 2,800 to 3,000 pounds thanks to its expensive-but-lightweight carbon fiber body. Now imagine if its 20 kWh battery pack was 50% lighter, and suddenly you’ve got an electric vehicle that weighs no more than the 2016 Mazda Miata.
And should Tesla hit its goal of batteries that cost just $100/kWh? It’ll be even cheaper than the Miata too.
Images: Seeking Alpha
One of the unlikely heroes of the plug-in car movement has been BMW. The German automaker debuted the critically-acclaimed i3 and i8 in the last year, bookending its efforts to appeal to both ends of the market. According to AutoCar, BMW is working on a ground-up reinvention of its entire product line that could see nearly all of its vehicles become plug-ins of one sort or another.
From the popular 3 Series sedan all the way up to opulent Rolls-Royce lineup, BMW is planning a total overhaul of its product offering that makes electric motors the primary source of motivation. Conventional engines won’t totally disappear, but AutoCar claims that looming EU emissions regulations have BMW thinking combustion engines might be better used as generators for the battery pack.
There’s no mention of any pure electric vehicle plans, and other smaller cars (like the 1 Series and MINI) could still use conventional engines, but plug-in hybrids seem to be BMW’s game plan. Indeed, the range-extended version of the i3 seems to be outselling the all-electric version by a sizable percentage, which could be influencing BMW’s decision.
The 670 horsepower “Thing” plug-in hybrid has already proven that going electric doesn’t mean sacrificing power, while the i3 and i8 spearhead BMW’s weight-lightening efforts with carbon fiber. Also on tap is a greater connected car program via satellite navigation, adjustable-height suspension, and a “scalable” drivetrain that can fit everything from a four-cylinder 3 Series to a V12 Rolls-Royce. The drivetrain isn’t only electrically driven though, as above 50 MPH the engine is designed to “assist” in acceleration and speed, but it would help reduce emissions substantially in order to meet the draconian standards the EU is imparting.
Not to say I disagree with what the EU is doing, but if this report is true, it’s forcing automakers to totally rethink their products. For plug-in car enthusiasts that’s great, but I’d hate to be one of the engineers charged with making this happen. 2022 isn’t all that far away, and after a century of relying on combustion engines, BMW finally seems ready to take the full plunge into plug-in cars.
While not quite the result Elon Musk was probably hoping for, it’s a huge step in the right direction, and hopefully the rest of the industry follows their lead.
For the past two decades the BMW 3 Series has come to define the mid-size luxury segment, and it’s done so without buying into any tech fads. Plug-in cars are far from a fad though, and the BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype not only has electric all-wheel drive, but also boasts of a 117.5 MPGe rating.
Pairing the TwinPower four-cylinder turbo engine with a modest electric motor, the BMW 3 Series PHEV makes a combined 245 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque while offering up to 22 miles of all-electric driving. The 117 MPGe rating would also make it amongst the most efficient plug-in hybrids, though it still falls short of the 124 MPGe the all-electric i3 can attain.
Like the i3, the 3 Series PHEV also has three different driving modes; COMFORT, SPORT, and ECO PRO. COMFORT is your base driving mode, and SPORT emphasizes performance over efficiency. In ECO PRO though, BMW pulls out all the stops to offer the highest fuel economy, even going so far as to mess with the HVAC settings in order to achieve the most efficiency and electric driving range. There’s also the “Power eDrive” system which BMW says can lay out up to 500 kW, or about 670 combined horsepower in a plug-in hybrid format.
Just when we might see a BMW 3 Series Plug-in Hybrid the German automaker isn’t saying, but the company did say they’re working to increase the amount of time its hybrids spend in electric driving mode. Elon Musk has held up the 3 Series as the benchmark for the upcoming Tesla Model III, which will start right around the same mid-$30,000 price range, so it makes plenty of sense for BMW start electrifying its bread-and-butter model now.
This focus on optimizing electrification emphasizes BMW’s interest in alternative drivetrains, and BMW is promising plug-in hybrid versions of all its top models in the next few years. Recent talks with Tesla could help usher in the second generation of BMW EVs and hybrids. But there’s also an intense rivalry in the works. the Model S supplanted the 3 Series on Car & Driver’s 2014 10 Best List, the first time the mid-size Bimmer hasn’t been represented in recent memory.
The comparisons have been ongoing, and for all of good-guy-Elon’s talk about helping competitors get into electric cars, the auto industry as a whole is still decidedly against electric cars. It may take some more “tough love” from Tesla via stolen sales to get the industry to listen up and heed the call of an electric car future.
The Cadillac ATS still feels like a new production car, but the compact, sporty sedan and coupe have done wonders for Cadillac, pushing the brand into the entry-luxe market that’s been dominated by the C class Mercedes and 3 series BMW since
time immemorial the 1980s. Now, it seems like Cadillac is going to square off against sporty convertibles from Lexus and Audi, as well- with an all-new Cadillac convertible concept that was reportedly shown to dealers earlier this week, along with a new sedan positioned below the ATS, a compact crossover, a large crossover with third-row seats, and a new “halo model” positioned above the upcoming CT6 full-size sedan.
The new convertible is believed to be based on GM’s “Alpha” platform, which serves as the basis for the Cadillac ATS and larger CTS cars- but the convertible will likely share more hardware with the next-generation Chevy Camaro than either of those cars. If for no other reason than the Camaro will definitely be getting convertible option, so can probably expect the hard points, windshield surround, doors, and other bits to be mechanically (if not visually) identical across both cars.
It’s not clear if the upcoming convertible will look more like the ATS or CTS- or if it will look like either of them, at all. One rendering of a new Cadillac convertible can be seen, above, and another- by Theo Chin for Chris Doane Automotive- is included, below.
You can let us know what you think of the Caddymarao convertible, and the images, in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Cadillac Convertible Rendering | Doane Automotive
With suite of high-tech features that includes LED headlights, the color heads-up display, and Surround View Camera System, the BMW i8 is one of the most tech-laden vehicles the German automaker has ever built. Too bad it’ll cost you over $136,000 to buy one.
Thankfully, many of these and other features will work their way into cheaper (by comparison) models, which BMW is quick to point out in a trio of new “BMW Innovation” ads.
The first advertisement focuses on the super-bright LED headlights of the BMW i8, which you can also option of the BMW 5-series, a car that literally costs less than half that of the hybrid supercar. Sure, you won’t get the 326 horsepower hybrid drivetrain, but the 5-Series BMW has a presence all its own in the automotive world.
LED headlights are nothing new (and the BMW i8 can even be had with frickin’ laser beam headlights, just not in America…yet). But the colored heads-up display of the i8 is something altogether different. HUDs have been around for decades (my 1992 240sx had one), but they’ve always been that that digital greenish-blue color. BMW offers a full-color HUD that delivers not just your speed and RPM readings, but GPS directions and other pertinent info as well. You don’t need to buy an i8 to have the color HUD though, as it’s also an option on the popular 3-series model.
Finally there’s the Surround View Camera System, which in the low-visibility i8 provides an all-around view of the car to ensure you’re not accidentally (intentionally?) cutting someone off or bumping into buildings as you back into a parking spot. This innovation can also be had on the BMW X3, a car which on its surface seems to share even less in common with the i8 than the 3-series and 5-series. The “trickle down” effect of technology has always placed new gadget in high-end cars first, but BMW is spreading the love across its lineup quicker than even I would have expected.
The color HUD is definitely my favorite i8 feature (besides the drivetrain of course), but what’s yours?
The success of the Tesla Model S has caught the auto industry by surprise, with European luxury car makers scrambling to come up with legitimate competitors to Tesla’s dominance. According to insiders, sales of the Model S have convinced some at BMW that a competitor car, possibly called the BMW i5, has a lot of potential in a market created and dominated by Tesla.
According to a HybridCars exclusive, a Tesla-competitor of some kind is definitely going to happen. That said, nothing is set in stone, including the name, though such a vehicle makes only too much sense right now. Priced at $70,000, the Tesla Model S is literally stealing sales from the likes of BMW, Mercedes, and Audi, and Elon Musk has said over and over again that his affordable electric car aims to be the zero-emissions equivalent of the BMW 3-series sedan.
That is both a compliment on the Bimmer’s success, and a serious threat to BMW’s bread-and-butter sedan of Model S sales are any indicator. This has BMW tossing around the idea of a larger pure electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle, bigger than the soon-to-be-released BMW i3, but cheaper than the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car.
It could be priced right around the same point as the Tesla Model S, though debate on whether it would be a sedan or a crossover are still up in the air. In other words, BMW is only just beginning the discussion of a serious Tesla Model S contender.
I didn’t realize they were that far behind.
Source: Hybrid Cars
Tesla’s incredible sales success has automakers the world wondering how to counter the Silicon Valley automaker, and General Motors could have the answer. GM is developing a 200-mile electric car with a targeted sales price of $30,000, right in the same sweet spot Elon Musk is aiming for. But who will launch first?
GM has already hinted that it is developing a line of Tesla-rivaling EVs, one with a 100-mile range and the other with 200-miles of range per charge. Elon Musk’s goal is to launch a $30,000, 200-mile electric car by 2017 at the latest. While GM hasn’t put a timetable on the launch of its own Tesla fighter, executives have said the technology exists; it’s just the price point that remains a sticky issue.
To date GM’s only pure electric car is the Spark EV, which has been surprisingly well-recieved, though it is for sale only in a handful of markets for now. It also has just 82 miles of range per charge, well short of Tesla’s entry-level Model S which boasts up to 208 miles of range as well as a $70,000 price tag.
But whereas Tesla needs to launch the Model X SUV next, GM is free to concentrate on an affordable competitor that might even reach the road first. It just comes down to price, with automakers stuck paying twice as much or more for their battery packs. Tesla’s use of laptop batteries (which could soon lead to a worldwide shortage) means their batteries are substantially cheaper than the batteries used in the Chevy Volt. Speaking of which, may I suggest returning to the original Volt concept (above) for design inspiration?
GM will have to overcome that price hurdle, or else sell its electric vehicles at a loss, in order to compete with Tesla. They only have about four-years to do it though. Is GM capable of fighting Tesla on its own turf? Or will another automaker steal the show?
Source: Wall St. Journal
Americans are just starting to dip their toes into the diesel-powered car market again, but over in Europe oil-burners have been big business for decades. Whole tuning shops are dedicated to turning turbodiesels into torque monsters, and BMW specialist Alpina may be preparing a 350 horsepower, all-wheel drive BMW 335d.
The new Alpina D3 is said to make use of the BMW 335d’s inline-six twin turbocharged diesel engine, which from the factory makes a respectable 265 horsepower and 410 ft-lbs of torque. This is a big step up from the previous Alpina D3, which transplanted the 204 horsepower 2.0 liter turbodiesel into the 335d body.
This move to a bigger engine means bigger power gains, with Alpina reportedly able to turn 350 horsepower and a stump-pulling 516 ft-lbs of torque. This should help motivate the big sedan from 0 to 60 mph in less than five seconds, making me once again jealous of Europe’s engine offerings. Expect impressive fuel economy in addition to excellent performance, though I doubt it will come anywhere close to the bizzare 81 mpg Alpina BMW from the early 1980s.
While the Alpina D3 is expected to debut next month at the Frankfurt Auto Show, it will likely remain a European-only model. Even though BMW seems intent on bringing many more diesel engine options to customers in America, including the all-new BMW 328d, for now tuning houses like Alpina will focus on the markets they know and trust.
The popularity of diesel engines in new cars is rising in America, though over in Germany driving diesels is a way of life. The BMW 328d is the latest diesel-powered sedan that Bimmer will offer to Americans, and it will also be the most efficient, boasting a 32 mpg city rating and an outstanding 45 mpg on the highway.
That makes the BMW 328d one of the most efficient cars on the road, even with the optional all-wheel drive xDrive system, which reduces ratings to 31/43. A wagon version is also available on the four-cylinder turbodiesel, which boasts an equally impressive 180 horsepower and 280 ft-lbs of torque.
You may remember that BMW initially believed their diesel 3-series would get up to a 48 mpg highway rating, so there may be a few disappointed engineers scratching their head in wonder. America’s fuel economy standards aren’t exactly diesel-friendly, though diesel owners regularly blow away government estimations. That’ll certainly help offset the $7,000 premium BMW plans to charge for their oil-burning sedan, which is the first of many diesel BMWs coming stateside.
With diesel fans looking for a luxurious touch in a sporty car (the 328d accelerarates from 0-60 mph in just 7.2 seconds), the BMW 328d couldn’t have chosen a better time to enter the American market.
There has been a lot of talk and speculation regarding the as-yet-unnamed third-generation EV from Tesla Motors. According to Elon Musk, it will go at least 200-miles per charge and cost about half what the Tesla Model S does. Another tidbit Musk let leak out? Apparently there will be a small crossover version of this EV as well.
Musk really knows the market, because the crossover segment is booming right now. These car-based SUVs have better fuel economy and more car-like handling than SUVs, and soccer moms have migrated to vehicles like the Mazda CX-5 and Kia Sportage en masse. Musk wants a slice of the crossover market too.
Unlike the delayed full-size Model X SUV, the compact crossover would be based on the small gen-three platform currently under development at Tesla. It should fall in the same battery capacity and range as the sedan, that means, broadening Tesla’s mass market appeal.
As far as Model S variants, Musk is so far mum. A coupe version certainly would be a welcome addition, though it seems that, at least for now, Musk has already moved on to the next vehicle in his lineup.
Source: Automotive News
The Tesla Model S is many things; fast, good looking, and with the most range of any EV on the market right now. That said, it is still a $70,000 vehicle, placing it well beyond the price range of 99% of car buyers. But for Musk’s encore act, he is making affordability the primary goal, along with a real-world 200 mile range that will have even EV skeptics reconsidering their position…if he can actually make it happen.
In an interview with the Detroit News, Musk said that while having paid off the government green loan was like taking a weight off of his chest, the company could not rest on its laurels. It’s next vehicle, the Model X SUV, has been pushed back a year, and while Tesla sales are strong, there is still a whole lotta debt to deal with. After the Model X though, Tesla wants to launch a 200-mile EV with a starting price of about $40,000, about the same price as the Chevy Volt, though the main competition will be the BMW 3-series. Also, it may cure blindness and walk on water.
If that seems like a tall order, that’s because it is, and I am worried for more than one reason. Technically speaking, Musk and Tesla achieved their goal of selling a $50,000 electric vehicle, but only thanks to a $7,500 government tax rebate. Tesla also killed the cheapest Model S just months after production began; the cheapest Model S you can buy, after the government rebate, starts at $62,500. I’m worried he might pull the same stunt again.
That said, Tesla has already beaten the odds when it comes to launching a successful electric car. A 200-mile range at $40,000 would meet the needs of most Americans, and with more Supercharger stations to be in place by the time this next sedan comes out (in about 3 or 4 years), Tesla really could become the next great American automaker. Then again, Musk could pull another sleight of hand, leaving us plebeians still waiting for an affordable, practical EV.
So which do you think it will be readers?
Source: The Detroit News
Every automaker is taking a slightly different path in their quest for fuel economy domination, and for German automaker BMW, diesels seem to make the most sense. We already knew that BMW would bring a diesel 3-series, the 328d, to the New York Auto Show. What we didn’t know is that in addition to an impressive amount of torque, this diesel Bimmer would be good for up to 48 mpg. Wowza.
48 mpg? From a BMW, and a non-hybrid at that? What is this, the Twilight Zone or something? Nope, just BMW finally getting around to offering diesel-powered goodness in America, something they’ve done doing for years in Europe. The new 2.0 liter BMW turbodiesel isn’t short on power either, with a respectable 180 horsepower and 280 ft-lbs of torque on tap as well. That 48 mpg figure is on the highway, by the way; BMW reps are keeping the city rating mum for now. Still, hybrids have been put on notice.
Of course all that really matters is how it performs, and BMW is not known for selling anything less than a quality performance sedan. The BMW 328d should be fun to drive and then some, with reps claiming a 0-60 mph of around 7.2 seconds. While not “fast” per se, it is certainly on par with the competition…and there is always the possibility of a M-version of the diesel Bimmers. BMW is already planning to bring other diesel sedans to market, including a 5-series sedan powered by a turbodiesel V6
Alas, the only available transmission (for now) is an 8-speed automatic, and the diesel engine will carry a $7,000 premium over a base BMW 3-series. But with hybrid-like fuel economy, and plenty of torque to boot, we think this oil-burning Bimmer will find plenty of willing buyers.