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I'm thinking of getting a PHEV and I heard an interesting story about a friend of a friend. He drives his company 330E once a week or so into London, it switches to electric at the congestion charge zone and back to petrol when he leaves. The thing is, apparently he's never charged it using the lead. So is the braking recuperation good enough over what might be a 50 mile round petrol journey to give him maybe 5 miles electric range or is he using Battery Control Mode? And how daft is it financially to use petrol to charge the battery?
 

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BMW 530e
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I'm currently driving a 530e and before that had a 330e. I do get to recuperate some charge on long motorway runs as you hardly need to touch the brake and easing off the pedal gains some charge, but it won't gain more than a mile or two. In my view if someone get a PHEV and never plugs in, they might as well get one of the 'self charge' light hybrids.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
But BMW don't do a self charge hybrid, and I don't think the company car tax works as well
 

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BMW 530e
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But BMW don't do a self charge hybrid, and I don't think the company car tax works as well
For the BIK you're best with an ultra low emission PHEV, no congestion charge, no range anxiety or messing about charging on long trips and you get to claim the fuel mileage rate back on expenses which works out in your favour if you have a light foot.
 

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2021 BMW 530e
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If you push the 'battery control' button, then a 530e/330e will charge the battery more aggressively when driving normally (even when not braking), although it will use more fuel to do so. I think the default target battery level is around 80%, so it's certainly possible to get 5 miles electric range from a reasonable drive under ICE, but it won't be as cheap as plugging it in and charging it from a cheaper power source.
 

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iPace HSE / 2019 and eTron 55 / 2020
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I'm thinking of getting a PHEV and I heard an interesting story about a friend of a friend. He drives his company 330E once a week or so into London, it switches to electric at the congestion charge zone and back to petrol when he leaves. The thing is, apparently he's never charged it using the lead. So is the braking recuperation good enough over what might be a 50 mile round petrol journey to give him maybe 5 miles electric range or is he using Battery Control Mode? And how daft is it financially to use petrol to charge the battery?
FFS. No way. "It" doesn't switch. The driver might choose to switch to EV mode but with no charge in the battery it won't do. Self charging' is a load of marketing bolllocks. It burns fossil fuel to charge the battery. Burning petrol to charge a battery so you can then deplete it in EV mode is pointlessly and inefficiently stupid.

I write as an ex-BMW-PHEV owmer.
 

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2021 BMW 530e
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FFS. No way. "It" doesn't switch. The driver might choose to switch to EV mode but with no charge in the battery it won't do.
True, it can't use charge when there is none available. But you can 'strongly encourage' the car to use electric or petrol modes predominantly, with the controls. And I stand by my statement that it should be able to do what andykn claims, although I agree the driver will need to make the switch.

Self charging' is a load of marketing bolllocks. It burns fossil fuel to charge the battery. Burning petrol to charge a battery so you can then deplete it in EV mode is pointlessly and inefficiently stupid.
This is true, and it's why the current Toyota adverts really annoy me. 'Two sources of power' they say? Nope...it all comes from petrol. But a PHEV, when used and charged properly, can make use of cheaper (and potentially renewable) power sources.
 

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Burning petrol to charge a battery so you can then deplete it in EV mode is pointlessly and inefficiently stupid.
In certain circumstances it may make sense eg if you spend a fair amount of time farting around town when ICE are particularly inefficient compared to EV drive.

Moreso if the onboard ICE is a highly efficient unit like Toyota's.

But yeah, it's nowhere near as clever as using 'plugged-in' electricity where that's an option.
 

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40 Leaf
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Have you considered a Tesla model 3?

There is only about £6k in the purchase price between the BMW and the Tesla that would be recouped by the huge fuel savings if you do any decent mileage.

Having owned a plug in BMW I can tell you that they are not very fuel efficient if you do a lot of motorway / distance driving beyond the range of its battery, which if you want to be warm in the winter isn’t an especially long range.

Plug in hybrids are only free to drive into London for another 14 months if you do this regularly.

If these are the requirements the Tesla is a much better tool for the job.
 

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I completely agree. The battery range of my 225xe is 14 Miles in warm weather, 10 to 12 Miles in cold and about 6 if I put the heater or demister on. I believe it was originally advertised as being 25 Miles. I'm test driving a Model 3 today.
 

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Plug in hybrids are only free to drive into London for another 14 months if you do this regularly.
Just to help others with complete information: PHEVs (only those that can do minimum 20miles on battery) will be Congestion Charge free only until 24th Oct. 2021 (just under 12 months time from now).

Then it is battery only that is congestion charge free until 2025.

 

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Discussion Starter #13
FFS. No way. "It" doesn't switch. The driver might choose to switch to EV mode but with no charge in the battery it won't do. Self charging' is a load of marketing bolllocks. It burns fossil fuel to charge the battery. Burning petrol to charge a battery so you can then deplete it in EV mode is pointlessly and inefficiently stupid.

I write as an ex-BMW-PHEV owmer.
Wouldn't "Anticipatory hybrid mode" switch automatically maybe at the start of the CC zone?

Whilst "self charging" is inefficient I was wondering how good the recuperation charging was, does it work in petrol mode?
 

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40 Leaf
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Wouldn't "Anticipatory hybrid mode" switch automatically maybe at the start of the CC zone?

Whilst "self charging" is inefficient I was wondering how good the recuperation charging was, does it work in petrol mode?
All BMW hybrids have a mode called battery save.

in this mode it only regens and doesn’t use power.

To be honest having owned a BMW hybrid I would not buy another, the Toyota CHR I had before my 225xe was a far more efficient and better hybrid than the 225.

The 225 was not that great to drive once the battery is flat either I used to flick mine into sport mode once it had a flat battery because it felt so hesitant and asthmatic to drive without electric assistance from the rear wheels.

That kind of defeats the object of having a hybrid! 🤣
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Just found BMW's blurb about eDrive zones:

"automates the process of switching to electric-only power when a BMW plug-in hybrid vehicle enters a defined area of these cities. The service, unique in the worldwide automotive industry, also automatically ensures that the electric power is conserved for use during the part of the journey within the low emission zone, if the journey destination is entered into the vehicle’s navigation system. "

 

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I'm rarely able to charge my Mini Countryman which shares a drivetrain with the BMW 225xe.
I've been testing using modes to reduce fuel consumption.
I find best fuel economy seems to come from using electric power for accelerating and most the time under 30mph. Then I flick it into sport mode to recharge the battery on higher, steady speeds. This seems to be the most efficient way of using petrol only. We use petrol for steady speeds, where it's most efficient.
Fuel consumption is high in sport mode but so much time is spent in Edrive that average fuel consumption is around 40-43mpg.
 

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Just found BMW's blurb about eDrive zones:

"automates the process of switching to electric-only power when a BMW plug-in hybrid vehicle enters a defined area of these cities. The service, unique in the worldwide automotive industry, also automatically ensures that the electric power is conserved for use during the part of the journey within the low emission zone, if the journey destination is entered into the vehicle’s navigation system. "

Ah OK that's new. Good idea. Probably find it is a feature that needs to be enabled in the car so oldwer PHEVs won't have it, an update might be made available to add it. It needs charge in the battery obviously.
 

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All BMW hybrids have a mode called battery save.

in this mode it only regens and doesn’t use power.
...
That mode charges the battery using the engine until it reaches the set percentages you choose. It's very inefficient in my experience (740e). Regen works also.
 

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2021 BMW 530e
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That mode charges the battery using the engine until it reaches the set percentages you choose. It's very inefficient in my experience (740e). Regen works also.
There are bound to be losses with the charge/discharge cycle, so it won't be perfect. But it does mean you can recharge the battery significantly on a steady (motorway?) drive, ready to use in city traffic when electric power comes into its own. Difficult to see why this would be any less efficient than any other self-charging hybrid. I used this the other day on a motorway run when the HV battery was empty, to give me a few miles ready for a traffic jam approaching the Dartford tunnel. Meant I could give the ICE a rest in the stop/start traffic.

I've not had my 530e long enough to explore it yet, but it also has an 'Adaptive' mode that supposedly uses a navigation route in the satnav, to choose the most effective e/ICE use for a given journey. Sounds plausible...
 

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40 Leaf
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Difficult to see why this would be any less efficient than any other self-charging hybrid.
The thing is with BMW is that they are focused squarely on the driving experience and everything else is secondary.

In doing this they have made IMHO the least efficient and worst hybrids on the market today.

They are all high performance and handle like their on rails, top marks there but if you actually look at the real world efficiency of them in day to day use they are pretty hopeless at the moment.

With the notable exception of the i3 they have electrified existing ICE models, instead of starting with a fresh sheet of paper and saying

“right what should a hybrid car be?”
they have rehashed their existing models and made them overly complicated, heavy and inefficient.

As I have previously asserted I loved my 225xe, it was however seriously flawed.

If someone were to offer me a brand new 330e as a straight swap for the 40 leaf I would stick with the leaf.

It was designed from the ground up to be electric and it’s really good at what it does, BMW hybrids have a major identity crisis they are not a good ICE, hybrid or electric car.

Bur with a fully charged battery they do drive well and put a smile on your face.

I hope BMW get their act together and launch a new platform like VW have with the ID3
 
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