BMW Malaysia recently invited us for a 24 hours drive with 4 of their Plug-in hybrid models….all having good sales success…so we wondered why they needed publicity on vehicles that were selling well? The answer was obvious after their first day on the back roads to Ipoh……yes instead of taking the quick paid highway route which takes an easy 2-2.5 hours (about 1 hour in a BMW) we drove along the old, JKR state maintained roads via Teluk Intan and the small back water towns that Klang Valley residents have forgotten.
BMW Malaysia wanted to remind us that their new ever expanding range of plug-in hybrid vehicles still delivered a true ‘drivers’ feel as we negotiated every tight corner and carved every sweeping turn that was presented to us. BMW Malaysia wanted us to understand that the dynamics of their part-electrified range still delivered their historical Malaysian tagline ‘a driver’s car’!
By dinner time we gave a standing ovation to the BMW chassis and handing engineers as they certainly delivered the much needed dynamics despite the different weight distribution that is presented in every plug-in hybrid vehicle from the added battery and charging systems hidden under every plastic, metal and leather part.
From the hard edged 330e to the ‘time for a newer model X5 PHEV, the BMW ‘feel’ was present. However, it was the large and luxurious 740Le that really impressed us with its nimble handling and quick reaction on the state roads that had us sometimes forgetting its large bulk. Then, jumping into the drivers seat of the all new 530e we continued to be impressed with the handling and despite the many comments posted online in various forums and websites by BMW lovers in Malaysia about the lack of prestige and luxury appointments in this latest BMW 530e we were impressed with the provided luxury and appointments. Maybe ‘keyboard slayers’ are persons who cannot even afford to buy a unit or hired ‘guns’.
Now, it is also our job to explain a little about BMW’s new range. The Plug-in hybrid range of vehicles. There are still many Malaysians a little confused about what a Plug-in hybrid is?
A plug-in hybrid is an electric car and a hybrid car all rolled into one. It is able to recharge its batteries directly from a household electricity supply, just like an electric car. But it can also run efficiently on a petrol engine, like a hybrid, which means you don’t have to be concerned about running out of battery charge power when you are on a longer drive.
Traditional hybrid cars do not require a battery charge via an electrical outlet. Their batteries gain power by charging while a vehicle uses its wheels, brakes, and engine. That harnessed power is then put to use via one or more electric motors, supplementing the power coming from the engine. This eases some stress on your engine and increasing fuel economy.
A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) is a vehicle that uses battery-powered electricity and a petrol driven engine in tandem for power. Depending on the vehicle’s engine, the power that drives your vehicle can come from a battery, petrol engine or both at the same time.
Electricity charges the vehicle’s batteries via an outlet on the side or front of the vehicle. Many PHEVs have regenerative braking, which causes the car’s batteries to charge when the car brakes.
Most PHEV manufacturers sell a charging station that you can install in your home to quicken the charging process. Before you purchase one, you will want to ensure your home is properly wired to handle the charging station’s requirements.
There are a number of factors that determine battery life. Using the air conditioning, radio, and headlamps can attribute to a faster loss of battery life. The type of road you are driving on and the terrain can affect fuel efficiency as well.
PHEV models vary considerably from manufacturer to manufacturer, though the same basic operating principle is the same. Before you take delivery of a PHEV, be sure to have the sale representative walk you through all the ins and outs of the car’s system to ensure you’re using it to the fullest of its capabilities and enjoying the proclaimed fuel savings.
Today we the increased awareness of PHEV the demand is rising (yes many still buy a PHEV because of the tax incentives given by the government and not for the fuel savings) So for those who car afford a premium PHEV vehicle, its might remain a choice for Malaysian consumers with the financial ability.
Also, with a PHEV, its ability to keep going even after the initial battery charge has been depleted, a PHEV could provide fuel-efficient transportation for those who want to move into the electrified world but who still have ‘range anxiety’.
Still, even PHEVs need chargers. They can run on petrol, making them good candidates for consumers who regularly commute long distances. But they only deliver their great fuel economy with maximum use of their electric motors running on power delivered from Tenaga Nasional Berhad.
Even if range isn’t an issue, price often can be when there are no tax incentives for fully imported PHEV’s or EV’s.
Remember this, EVs and PHEVs carry a lot of new and complicated technology, and that does not come cheap. And it isn’t just their costly batteries and associated electronic controls that drive up the price. It’s also the propensity of carmakers to pile on infotainment features and deluxe trim treatments to help make them more attractive. As a result, most electric-drive vehicles cost thousands of ringgit more than the closest petrol-powered models in the same manufacturer’s lineup.