BMW eDrive explained

BMW eDrive architecture
The BMW eDrive system architecture.


You’ve seen the logo on the various electrified vehicles offered in BMW’s current lineup: eDrive. What exactly does it mean, and how does it work? We’re going to find out in today’s blog post.

Three components

eDrive is the new drive technology found in all BMW i models and plug-in hybrids, and is essentially comprised of an electric motor, high-voltage lithium-ion battery and an intelligent energy management system.

The electric motor is what allows for complete zero-emissions driving — for example, the X5 xDrive40e is capable of travelling up to 30 kilometres without using any fuel — or in certain situations, provide a boost to acceleration.

All eDrive-equipped vehicles rely on a special performance li-ion battery to store energy, and utilize a built-in cooling device to constantly keep the unit at the ideal operating temperature, helping increase output and maintain service life.

bmw edrive intelligent energy management

Intelligent energy management guarantees that everything is running as efficiently and optimally as possible. It partially does so via a predictive strategy, such as using navigation data to determine at which point during the route to switch over to pure electric propulsion, or when to start the charging process. Another facet is regenerative braking, transferring the kinetic energy created from braking into the battery.

Different modes

Although the hybrids possess TwinPower Turbo internal combustion engines (ICE), they feature a MAX eDRIVE button that forces the vehicle to use electricity at speeds of 120 km/h and under, although the ICE will kick in under heavy load or if the throttle is wide open. The SAVE BATTERY function, on the other hand, ensures the battery’s charge state is maintained so fuel-free motoring may be enjoyed at a later time — useful on the highway. Pop the transmission lever into S, and the ICE immediately kicks in and stays on for those times when instant power is required.

eDrive is currently offered on several BMW cars and SUVs, including the 330e, 530e and the above mentioned X5 xDrive40e.

bmw edrive lineup

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Benjamin Yong is a freelance journalist and communications professional living in Richmond, B.C. He is often found writing about cars and the auto industry, amongst other things, or driving around in his work-in-progress 1990 Mazda MX-5.

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