2010 Geneva Motor Show Preview: BMW ActiveHybrid 5 Concept

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The all-new 2011 BMW 5-Series Sedan is set to go on sale this June but before that we'll get a preview of a future gasoline-electric hybrid version destined to go on sale next year. Picking up BMW’s ActiveHybrid nomenclature, the new ActiveHybrid 5 Concept will be unveiled next week at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show alongside the regular six-cylinder and V-8 models.

The ActiveHybrid 5 Concept features a sophisticated hybrid system consisting of a twin-turbocharged and direct injected gasoline six-cylinder, an eight-speed automatic transmission and an electric motor running on lithium-ion batteries. The electric motor is rated at 54 horsepower and is connected to the engine via a special clutch. When the vehicle is coasting or braking the motor acts as a generator and helps to top up the batteries.

The set-up is similar to the one in the ActiveHybrid 7 where it’s mated to a V-8 engine. It's claimed to improve fuel economy by as much as 10 percent and also allows electric-only driving in city traffic and comes with an autonomous engine stop-start system to further help cut fuel consumption. Additionally, some auxiliary features--like the climate control--is run off the battery rather than drawing more power from the engine.

The story doesn’t end there as BMW has added a further refinement by integrating navigation system data into the control software that manages overall energy consumption among the engine, the motor, and the battery.

If the chosen route includes a downhill section of road, for example, the system might use more energy from the battery pack than usual--knowing that it would be recharged on overrun as the car passed through that section.

BMW says this "forward-looking function" can extend the car's all-electric range by as much as 30 percent, though no mileage or total power outputs have been revealed.

Stay tuned for an update following the ActiveHybrid 5 Concept’s debut at next week’s Geneva event.


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