Mo­tor­ing

Broome Advertiser - - Broome Happenings - Ewan Kennedy

BMW has al­ways been noted for its sporty mod­els, but for the past decade it has also been se­ri­ously re­search­ing and build­ing full-elec­tric, and petrol-elec­tric hy­brids.

In­deed, BMW has set up an iPer­for­mance di­vi­sion to de­velop and mar­ket these cars of the fu­ture.

We’ve just spent a fas­ci­nat­ing week road test­ing a BMW 740e iPer­for­mance. It has the same stan­dard spec­i­fi­ca­tion as the es­tab­lished 740i pure-petrol and is priced at $229,000 plus on-road costs.

Hard to pick from the stan­dard 7 Se­ries at a dis­tance, the eDrive badges are a give­away, as is the added “fuel” flap on the left-front guard which gives ac­cess to the elec­tric in­put.

High lev­els of stan­dard equip­ment show this petrol-elec­tric hy­brid is any­thing but a sci­ence ex­per­i­ment.

It rides on 19-inch light-al­loy wheels and has a glass sun­roof and qual­ity Nappa leather uphol­stery that is soft and com­fort­able.

On the same sub­ject there are heated seats for driver and front pas­sen­ger, even heated arm­rests on the cen­tre con­sole and steer­ing wheel.

In­fo­tain­ment is a 16-speaker Har­man/Kar­don sur­round-sound sys­tem to­gether with DAB+ dig­i­tal ra­dio.

Pro­fes­sional nav­i­ga­tion can be used by BMW ges­ture con­trol and real-time traf­fic in­for­ma­tion is ex­cel­lent, as is the abil­ity to get BMW Concierge Ser­vices set up on all your plans. The let­ter “e” in the sedan’s ti­tle ob­vi­ously refers to elec­tric, but the “40” in this 7 Se­ries refers to the out­put you would an­tic­i­pate from a con­ven­tional 4.0-litre en­gine.

It ac­tu­ally has a 2.0L turbo-petrol four-cylin­der en­gine pro­duc­ing 190kW of power from 5000rpm-6500rpm and an im­pres­sive 400Nm of torque, avail­able all the way from 1550rpm-4400rpm.

Work­ing with the turbo-petrol is a liq­uid-cooled elec­tric mo­tor that’s in­te­grated into the eight-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

The mo­tor is pow­ered by a high-volt­age bat­tery be­neath the rear seat. This lithium-ion unit is liq­uid-cooled and has a 9.2kWh ca­pac­ity, with 7.4kWh use­able.

The elec­tric mo­tor de­liv­ers 83kW, and 250Nm of torque and can pro­vide emis­sion-free mo­tor­ing at speeds up to 140km/h without the petrol en­gine be­ing used. Don’t for­get that the laws of au­to­mo­tive physics are dif­fer­ent in Aus­tralia from other coun­tries, where 140km/h is nor­mal on mo­tor­ways.

Mounted on the cen­tre con­sole, the eDrive but­ton of­fers three modes:

In the de­fault Auto eDrive mode, it melds elec­tric and petrol propul­sion.

MAX eDrive mode bi­ases the sys­tem to elec­tric power, the petrol en­gine en­gag­ing ei­ther when the throt­tle is de­pressed be­yond the kick­down de­tente or when the gearshift lever is pushed into sport mode.

Bat­tery Con­trol mode 740e al­lows the petrol en­gine to pro­vide drive, as well as charg­ing the bat­tery pack, stor­ing the charge for later elec­tric driv­ing.

With the sup­plied ca­ble en­abling con­nec­tion to a stan­dard 240-volt power sup­ply, the BMW 740e iPer­for­mance can be charged from an or­di­nary do­mes­tic house­hold socket in about five hours.

Cus­tomers can op­tion a BMW I Wall­box to be in­stalled. This en­ables a charg­ing rate of up to 3.7kW at 16 amps, and can pro­vide a com­plete charge in 21⁄2 hours.

BMW also pro­vides a ChargeNow ser­vice in­cor­po­rat­ing a card that grants sim­ple, con­ve­nient ac­cess to part­nered pub­lic charg­ing sta­tions.

In­ci­den­tally, when we asked the ChargeNow web­site for nav­i­ga­tion in­for­ma­tion us­ing Google Maps, it not only gave us driv­ing in­struc­tions, but also pro­vided the op­tion of get­ting there by tram.

Some­one has to have a look at the web­site to sort this out.

BMW Driv­ing As­sis­tant Plus pro­vides lane-change and lane-de­par­ture warn­ing, steer­ing and lane-con­trol as­sis­tant, for­ward-col­li­sion warn­ing and pedes­trian warn­ing with light city-brak­ing func­tion, cross­ing­traf­fic warn­ing (front and rear), rear col­li­sion pre­ven­tion and ac­tive cruise con­trol with stopand-go func­tion, rear-view cam­era and sur­round view with 360-de­gree func­tion and panorama view.

The 740e is big, im­pos­ing and smooth to ride in. There is, of course, no noise from the elec­tric mo­tor. How­ever, the lit­tle petrol unit made an un­usual click­ing sort of noise when ac­cel­er­at­ing hard.

Like all elec­tric ve­hi­cles, the big 7 Se­ries has the mag­i­cal in­stan­ta­neous throt­tle re­sponse that’s pro­vided by an elec­tric mo­tor that has max­i­mum torque from one rpm.

When run­ning on petrol, which frankly was most of the time, the big, heavy BMW 740e typ­i­cally used 7L to 8L per 100km on mo­tor­ways and 10L-12L/100km around towns.

The long-awaited “bet­ter bat­tery” is still re­quired if elec­tric cars are re­ally to make their name on the sales front.

BMW has been one of the ma­jor lead­ers in tech­nol­ogy for many decades and you can be sure the be­hind-the-scenes peo­ple are do­ing all they can. In the mean­time, the BMW 740e proves you can have smooth, lux­u­ri­ous per­sonal trans­porta­tion in near-silent run­ning.

Big, im­pos­ing and crammed with the lat­est elec­tronic tech­nol­ogy, the BMW 740e is a step into the fu­ture. Pic­tures: Mar­que Mo­tor­ing

BMW 740e pro­vides smooth, lux­u­ri­ous per­sonal trans­porta­tion in near-silent run­ning.

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