BMW hybrids to switch to battery power in low emission zones
◆ BMW is introducing “geo-fencing” so its plug-in hybrid cars automatically switch to battery power when entering low-emission zones in the UK, writes Alan Tovey.
The German company claims its cars are the first to have such an ability, swapping over to emission-free motoring in designated parts of London and Birmingham from today.
While the cars will switch over to battery power automatically, drivers can override it in cases such as the charge already having been run down, although the system works with the navigation system to preserve power for low-emission zones.
BMW described the system “as the solution customers want as they make the switch to electro-mobility”, adding that it would help improve air quality in cities.
It tested the system in Rotterdam in the Netherlands in 2019 before rolling the programme out to a number of cities across Europe earlier this summer.
However, as rules currently stand, plug-in hybrids will no longer be exempt from London’s congestion charge from next year, and face a £15 a day cost – even if they are driven only on electric power.