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Discussion Starter #21
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...
I was hoping that a plug in hybrid would be like a self charging hybrid just with the extra cheaper plug-in charging option. And there aren't any self charging hybrids I like.
 

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Maybe I'm in the minority given the low regard in which most people people in this forum seem to regard BMW hybrids, but I like to drive, and a good drivers car is very important to me. So maybe I've made the perfect choice with my car!

I'm not quite sure how efficient you think a hybrid should be, but I'm very satisfied with mine, so far. A regular 200 mile round trip I frequently make now costs approximately £20 in fuel (plus a full charge - 50p at Octopus Go rates) compared with over £30 that my previous 528i F10 used to cost. And 'around town' journeys of a few miles are now electric-only, compared with the 20mpg I used to get when the engine doesn't really get a chance to warn up properly,

Maybe it's not as economical as a Toyota/Lexus could be on a very long journey, but it's way better than my ICE-only BMW used to be, and the ability to do local runs for almost free if a big benefit that the 'self-charging' cars can't offer.

Admittedly, the engine isn't quite as smooth as the old 6 cylinder was, but given it doesn't usually run until you're travelling at speed, you have to be pretty sensitive to notice it. The 530e is more powerful than the 528i on paper (with the motor boost), but as I'm still running it in, I've not really been able to properly compare, yet.

I've not had any reliability issues so far, so maybe I'm talking a bit too soon, but right now, I think BMW have got it about right. Maybe they've ironed out a lot of the problems you had on your 225xe. Maybe a lot of the inefficiencies you experienced were due to having 4 wheel drive, taking away a lot of what the motor gave you...?
 

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I was hoping that a plug in hybrid would be like a self charging hybrid just with the extra cheaper plug-in charging option. And there aren't any self charging hybrids I like.
It almost is. A self-charging hybrid has a reason to continually charge the batteries when driving, as that's the only way they can be charged. A PHEV will happily let the HV battery drain, as it expects you to plug it in later. But if you want to manually recharge the battery on a run, the controls are there to allow you to do so...but it'll cost you petrol to achieve it. A self-charging hybrid will always cost you petrol to recharge.
 

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Maybe a lot of the inefficiencies you experienced were due to having 4 wheel drive, taking away a lot of what the motor gave you...?
Well the 225 isn’t conventionally 4WD

there is no prop shaft driven rear differential, so the ICE has nothing to do with the rear wheels, just the electric motor.

in this sense it should be considerably more efficient than a conventional 4WD vehicle.

In fact it should provide the best of both worlds on paper.

The 5 series electric motor is integrated into the gear box so it powers the prop shaft like the ICE does.


A regular 200 mile round trip I frequently make now costs approximately £20 in fuel
In contrast I have covered 3500 miles in the leaf for about £95 since I had it.

So 200 miles is about £6 if running cost is a motivator fully electric is a no brainer.
 

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Well the 225 isn’t conventionally 4WD
OK, I wasn't aware of that. I have to admit it's not a car that really interested me much, so hadn't paid it enough attention, obviously.

The 5 series electric motor is integrated into the gear box so it powers the prop shaft like the ICE does.
Indeed it does. But a prop shaft does not inherently make it inefficient.

The biggest advantage with splitting the ICE and motors, is packaging. Maybe the 330e/530e arrangement is actually more simple in terms of power transmission than the 225xe... Certainly I can see the power being always applied to the same axle would be more predicable than powering different axles depending in the power source.

In contrast I have covered 3500 miles in the leaf for about £95 since I had it.

So 200 miles is about £6 if running cost is a motivator fully electric is a no brainer.
Yes, but you're comparing a pure EV with an PHEV. I can't always charge at my destination, so range would (occasionally) be a problem. I'm not ready to make the leap to a full EV yet.

I'm comparing a PHEV to a self-charging EV and an ICE-only vehicle. To me, it's a step forwards from my previous ICE car. I can't really see why a PHEV is any worse than a self-charger.

The infrastructure and charger reliability needs to improve significantly before I make the next step...by which fuel cell cars will probably be the way forwards,
 

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The infrastructure and charger reliability needs to improve significantly before I make the next step...by which fuel cell cars will probably be the way forwards,
You'll be waiting a long time before there's a decent H2 network in the UK.
Out of interest, why did you discount an i3 REx?
 

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I'm comparing a PHEV to a self-charging EV and an ICE-only vehicle. To me, it's a step forwards from my previous ICE car. I can't really see why a PHEV is any worse than a self-charger.
Yes it’s a major step forwards, I tested the waters with a PHEV prior to going all electric.

There are some really big differences between different manufacturers hybrids.

Toyota hybrids use Atkinson cycle engines which are much more efficient than and run cooler than conventional engines, the trade off with them is they lack torque so the Toyota system uses the electric motor as a power assister to smooth our the dips in the power curve.

In contrast the BMW system (in the default comfort mode) operates pretty solely as an electric vehicle below 50 mph with the exception of if you are heavy footed out of a junction or will wake up the ICE or if you exceed 50mph the ICE kicks in too.

if you wake the ICE by accident it will then sit idling for 5 minutes in traffic to warm it up to protect it and won’t charge the battery while it’s doing it.

With a software redesign the BMWs could be much more efficient but it would compromise the “driving experience” so BMW will never do this.

To this end the BMW hybrids are a pretty blunt instrument.

If your looking for the most efficient hybrid for distance driving the Toyota C-HR will take some beating.

BMWs electric ranges are pretty pathetic especially with the heater on, the heater in an edrive bmw is resistive not a heat pump like the ones found in most electric cars so it swallows power. I wouldn’t take much notice of BMWs quoted figures of 40 miles pure electric driving either in the real world in the new 330e in winter ~5’c with the heater on you will get low 20s for the electric miles (combined driving), if you want to do 60mph on an A road however expect less than that and once the electric has gone and the ICE kicks in they are hugely inefficient circa 30mpg

I traded in my Toyota C-HR for the 225xe and was shocked at how many less mpg I was averaging and to add insult to injury I had to plug the BMW in for 3 hours a night!

So in answer a PHEV can be much worse than a self charger, Toyotas system is focussed on efficiency, BMWs doesn’t really know what it is.
 

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There's an approximate 10% fuel consumption penalty for the CH-R to a Prius, surely the latter is a better distance driver? The BMW will be more fun to drive as a saloon but it's pointless buying a PHEV if that's how you drive both due to the weight, limited electric performance and interaction between the power sources.
 

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@dk6780 not to put too finer point on it the Prius is a bit marmite in the styling department.

I wouldn’t buy a Prius because of this, @andykn said earlier:

there aren't any self charging hybrids I like.
This is why I suggested a C-HR, it’s a much prettier machine IMHO, there is more at play here than outright efficiency I’m guessing the BMW was selected here because he’s trying to balance style driving dynamics, spec and efficiency.

Unfortunately they are not always such great bedfellows BMWs toothy grin for example is going to give them some major issues in the wind tunnel but they are never going to get rid of it.

For the same reason the Audi E-tron 50 is about the least efficient modern EV you can buy, these companies don’t like trading their identity off for efficiency.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
@dk6780 not to put too finer point on it the Prius is a bit marmite in the styling department.

I wouldn’t buy a Prius because of this, @andykn said earlier:



This is why I suggested a C-HR, it’s a much prettier machine IMHO, there is more at play here than outright efficiency I’m guessing the BMW was selected here because he’s trying to balance style driving dynamics, spec and efficiency.

Unfortunately they are not always such great bedfellows BMWs toothy grin for example is going to give them some major issues in the wind tunnel but they are never going to get rid of it.

For the same reason the Audi E-tron 50 is about the least efficient modern EV you can buy, these companies don’t like trading their identity off for efficiency.
Thanks, you've got me pretty much spot on. I've got a 2006 A3 2.0 TFSI (petrol) that's worked well for me since I got it in 2009 but can't live forever. Our local council is talking about doubling and tripling (for my A3) residents parking permit charges by emissions, (with an extra 50% for diesels). I only do 6,000 miles a year and much of it is 10 miles in London traffic followed by motorway but park on street and there's no charging points near me. So I was hoping to be able to save on the emissions charges, keep the pollution to the countryside and maybcharge in future if it becomes more convenient.

But I don't really want anything too big (can't park) or anything much slower than my current car (0-60 6.9s) so that rules out the C-HR.
 

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You'll be waiting a long time before there's a decent H2 network in the UK.
Out of interest, why did you discount an i3 REx?
530e vs an i3. Not really a fair comparison, is it?

I need a bigger car, and like the style of the 5 series. I was always going to get a car of that size/class. The i3 is butt-ugly, IMHO. If there wasn't a 530e, I'd probably have just stuck to a 530i, as I just don't like the look or style of many direct competitors.
 

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Toyota hybrids use Atkinson cycle engines which are much more efficient than and run cooler than conventional engines, the trade off with them is they lack torque so the Toyota system uses the electric motor as a power assister to smooth our the dips in the power curve.
Thanks for the explanation. You should tell this to the Lexus salespeople, who never mentioned this to me when I discussed the relative merits of PHEV vs self-charging with them. However, I really didn't rate the Lexus much.

If your looking for the most efficient hybrid for distance driving the Toyota C-HR will take some beating.
Maybe, but again, this is a different class of car.

I guess I'm coming at this from different direction. I like cars. I have a few. Some aren't what you'd call economical, but I like driving, and I like how cars look and feel to drive. I'm probably in BMW's target audience in that I'm prepared to pay a little extra (in purchase price and running costs) for that.

I sense that others on here are looking for ultimate in efficient/cheap running and will accept less pretty or driver-focused cars to achieve that.
 

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Thanks for the explanation. You should tell this to the Lexus salespeople, who never mentioned this to me when I discussed the relative merits of PHEV vs self-charging with them. However, I really didn't rate the Lexus much.



Maybe, but again, this is a different class of car.

I guess I'm coming at this from different direction. I like cars. I have a few. Some aren't what you'd call economical, but I like driving, and I like how cars look and feel to drive. I'm probably in BMW's target audience in that I'm prepared to pay a little extra (in purchase price and running costs) for that.

I sense that others on here are looking for ultimate in efficient/cheap running and will accept less pretty or driver-focused cars to achieve that.
To buy a PHEV BMW and never / rarely plug it in is akin to buying a very inefficient petrol car and paying a premium for carrying extra weight around.

You should also be aware that the quoted 0-60 figures on the BMW are with charge in the battery so with a low SOC you don’t have that performance available.

It also only has a 7kW charger on board and no rapid facility so if you can only use public charging it will take 2 hours to charge it.
 

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225xe has a 3.6kW charger (still 2 hours to charge), and there is a buffer in the battery so you still get some oomph on kickdown when the battery is on 0 miles.

It returns low 40s mpg once the battery is gone which is about the same as the 218 petrol version in real world driving.

Where the Toyota leaves the BMW standing is efficiency - the Prius can genuinely return 60mpg on a run due to it's delayed inlet valve closing (effectively low pressure compression stroke followed by high compression power stroke) mimicking the effect of an Atkinson cycle engine although it is mechanically an Otto device.

Where the BMW thrashes the Toyota is engine power output: Prius makes about 100bhp from a 1.8 n/a unit (as the compression stroke takes less fuel than a normal/high pressure one), while BMW can make the same as its non-hybrid ICE (with added EV juice on top)

Reliability-wise the Japanese firm seems lightyears ahead though.
 

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...

It also only has a 7kW charger on board and no rapid facility so if you can only use public charging it will take 2 hours to charge it.
It's a 3Kw charger I believe. 3-4 hours from flat.
 

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It's a 3Kw charger I believe. 3-4 hours from flat.
Sorry I was looking at the spec of the old one that had a smaller battery by accident.

If the 330e is anything like the 225xe, It won’t be nearly as good to drive with a flat battery as with a charged one.

As @TheMegaMan is looking for a drivers car and has nowhere to plug in he should really drive one with a totally flat battery before deciding on whether it is what he is looking for.

Public charging for 3-4 hours you may as well look for something like a Tesla which you should be able to plug into a rapid charger for about 40 minutes once every 10 days.

that should be all you need to do the kind of mileage your doing.

My 225xe was totally different to drive once the battery was down to around 10%
 

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Sorry I was looking at the spec of the old one that had a smaller battery by accident.

If the 330e is anything like the 225xe, It won’t be nearly as good to drive with a flat battery as with a charged one.

As @TheMegaMan is looking for a drivers car and has nowhere to plug in he should really drive one with a totally flat battery before deciding on whether it is what he is looking for.

Public charging for 3-4 hours you may as well look for something like a Tesla which you should be able to plug into a rapid charger for about 40 minutes once every 10 days.

that should be all you need to do the kind of mileage your doing.

My 225xe was totally different to drive once the battery was down to around 10%
If you need to run without charging, why would you let the battery run all the way down?

I use a combination of MaxEdrive and sport mode (gear lever to left) and achieve low 40s mpg by using the two modes strategically.
This means the car is usually between 40% and 50% of charge.

I have also tried leaving the car in Save mode. In this situation, battery level is maintained at around 90% and efficiency was in the 37mpg mark.
I haven't tried extended running letting the battery run all the way down as it doesn't seem to make sense.

Over the ICE version, I get better acceleration, pseudo AWD and better fuel economy while still being able to flip into electric mode in town. As the car I drive is a lease care, It was cheaper than the less powerful ICE version.
 

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As @TheMegaMan is looking for a drivers car and has nowhere to plug in he should really drive one with a totally flat battery before deciding on whether it is what he is looking for.
Ah, I think maybe I've muddied the thread a little. I'm not looking for a car...I already have a new 530e, and am delighted with it. I have my own charge point, and regularly charge it so I can use a PHEV as intended.

It was @andykn that was originally asking about his friend who never charged his 330e, and didn't have access to his own charging point. And we've deduced it could charge itself to run on electric power only in a low emission area, but it'll cost.

I was just curious why everyone was slating PHEV BMWs, when they are so much more efficient to run than their ICE equivalents, especially when charged up before driving. I felt there was a lot of apples and oranges comparisons going on.

The info about the Atkinson cycle answered why they aren't ultimately as efficient as Toyotas, but I'm prepared to accept that for everything else about the car. As I said before, it's very cheap to run in e-mode around town on the days I stay local, and it's only using about 2/3 the amount of petrol that my old car (with less power) managed on the days I need to cover longer distances. Rising from 35mpg to 50mpg is very nice. 60mpg would be nicer, but not at the expense of having to drive something with a Lexus grille on the front (I find them really nasty) and not being able to run e-only on most days. Can the Lexus ES (closest to the 5 series, I believe) really achieve 60mpg, too?

I may be atypical, but in fact, I reckon a Lexus would actually cost more to run with my driving patterns, due to the inability to make use of 5p per kWh electricity. But I guess each to his own.
 

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Oh, and yes, a full EV would definitely be cheaper to run, I agree, but I know I'd have issues with range, every now and again. I'm not ready to go fully 'e' just yet, and the higher running cost is worth it to avoid the range anxiety, IMHO. That'll change at some point, I guess, but the number of discussions on this forum give a clue how much more thought is needed to charge cars than to use a petrol pump.
 
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