BMW XM: No Engine-Charging Mode for PHEV
CarBuzz recently had the opportunity to test-drive the 2023 BMW XM at a worldwide unveiling gathering, yet as much as we would love to share our feedback on how it drives, we are not allowed to. However, one thing we did find was that the vehicle does not seem to contain an indispensable feature which other plug-in hybrid vehicles possess – regenerative charging for the battery via the engine.
The M Hybrid button located on the center console permits a driver to opt from three modes: Hybrid, Electric, and eControl. The vehicles use the hybrid option which blends an electric motor together with the gasoline engine, along with the recourses of purely relying on electrical power for up to around 30 miles when utilizing the Electric option. These are essentially in line with other PHEVs.
BMW’s eControl function is precisely where the differences between it and other plug-in hybrid electric vehicles become apparent. Other PHEVs enable one an option to retain the battery charge or even make use of the engine in order to generate more electricity for the electric storage, however the XM only accommodates the former.
When posed with the question of why there is no charge option, a BMW spokesperson declared that “it would simply kill the fuel economy,” citing that “running the engine to charge the battery is inefficient.” The representative went on to explain that this would be an ineffectual use of fuel.
BMW can hardly be faulted as repeatedly running the engine in a Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) to recharge its battery severely incurs lower fuel efficiency. By simple physics, driving by way of the engines is more efficient, thus plugging in solely when needed to top off the charge of the battery is deemed ideal. Car manufacturers frequently resort to offering this feature to enable their customers to have battery completely filled up after a long highway drive and to enjoy electric-only propulsion when they reach their spot; however, how plentiful patrons really use it remains obscure.
Although the XM cannot use its motor to recharge its battery, there are still two regeneration settings which may help conserve energy: Normal and Maximum. It is conceivable that driving energetically, particularly on declines, would allow the XM to replenish its SOC. This is one of few advantageous points of its prodigious weight (6,063 lbs) as it carries a great momentum downhill, generating considerable electricity reservoirs for its motor and rechargeable batteries.
The XM may not be the first BMW PHEV to miss out on a recharge on-the-go feature, with other models such as the X5 Hybrid and the X2 Hybrid (not available in the US) only offering an option to maintain the battery’s charge level, not increase it. According to a spokesperson, “It would hurt our fuel economy ratings if we offered that feature.”
It could be argued that there is some accuracy to this thought process, as in the past Hyundai Motor Group offered drivers the option to recharge while driving. This feature is now longer part of their PHEVs line-up; however, certain other car manufacturers are still able to provide the same convenience. For instance, the Audi Q5 PHEV, Toyota and Volvo models have both a charge mode and a charge hold setting. Nonetheless, none of these cars run on 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 engines either, which is an important difference to note.