Not long ago, plug-in hybrids seemed to be on the geek fringe, with the Chevrolet Volt leading the way for the trend. Today, there are multiple plug-in hybrid models from many manufacturers, offered in prices and sizes from compact to full-size and from a little over $30,000 to well over $100,000. BMW has now gotten into the plug-in game as well, and not just for the well-publicized debuts of the i3 and i8 models. At this year's Frankfurt show, the company touted its most conventional-looking plug-in hybrid yet, the X5 eDrive hybrid.
Officially just a "concept," the X5 eDrive looks finished and complete enough that we're fairly certain it's going to be in showrooms within one or two model years, at the most. The X5 eDrive differs from the other F15 X5s by being powered by a four-cylinder engine. BMW did not specify the specific displacement, configuration, or output of the engine, other than saying it's a "turbocharged four-cylinder." But we'd say it's a safe guess to say it's a version of the company's N20 TwinPower 2.0-liter direct-injected I-4.
Supplementing the motive force of the four-banger is an electric motor developed in-house by BMW. Specific powertrain details are scarce, but we're inclined to believe its an electric motor sandwiched between the flywheel and transmission, taking place of a conventional fluid torque converter, similar to the arrangement in the 335i hybrid.
The X5 eDrive is designed to be charged via a standard 110-volt AC outlet, a higher-output 240v home charger, or a public charging station. Like other plug-in hybrids, state of charge, estimated range and other statistics can be monitored through a smartphone app.