BMW Brilliance Automotive will show a prototype plug-in hybrid sedan at Auto Shanghai 2011 later this month. The plug-in hybrid, based on a long wheelbase 5-series sedan is significant because it was developed exclusively for the Chinese automobile market and produced at the Shenyang joint venture site.
The 5-series plug-in hybrid when running purely on electrical power can travel for up to 75 kilometers at a constant speed of 60 km/h. A gasoline engine then can extend the range an additional 400 kilometers, which BMW says is consistent with the driving habits of Chinese customers in the premium segment.
The program is the latest indicator of the success of Chinese government dictated industrial policy, which requires joint ventures to sell in the world’s largest auto market and insists on local engineering and development programs.
The 5-series parallel hybrid set-up consists of a 160 kW engine with two turbochargers, and an electric motor with a maximum output of 70 kW. The electrical motor draws its energy from a high-voltage battery in the luggage compartment.
The components for the plug-in hybrid drive, power electronics and high-volt battery were developed in collaboration between the joint venture partners BMW Group and Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd.
The BMW Group is also running a number of other projects to support the market launch of electric vehicles in China. The first German-Chinese research project, a co-operative venture with Tongji University in Shanghai, saw the development of a purely electric BMW 5 Series.
The worldwide Mini E fleet trial was extended to China at the beginning of 2011 to Beijing and Shenzhen. The Mini E is being tested for everyday use at these locations by a consortium made up of the energy company State Grid Corporation and Southern Grid, as well as the China Automotive Technology and Research Corporation (CATARC). This also applies to field testing of the BMW Active E, an electric vehicle based on the BMW 1 Series Coupe that will be put to use in China later this year.