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BMW X3 Hybrid

Broadcast dates : 15th January 2006
21st January 2006

The BMW Active Hybrid Technology concept vehicle is based on the X 3 all-roader. It uses as combination of an advanced six-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor.

Ho-hum, you might be thinking so what else is new?

Whats new is that the X3 hybrid is designed as a performance vehicle, and it carries no extra batteries to charge the electric motor.

In effect, the electric motor takes the place of a torque converter in the standard-size automatic transmission used in this hybrid.

Dual clutches see the 60 kilowatt electric motor used to start the vehicle from standstill.

The second clutch then seamlessly kicks in the conventional high-performance petrol engine once the car is under way.

When a power boost is needed at speed, the electric motor kicks in, for an instant extra 60 kilowatts of power.

The electric motor recharges itself when the brakes are applied, and for energy storage, special capacitors, known as SuperCaps, are used.

In its fifteen years of hybrid research, BMW has traditionally used production models as test beds.

It should come as no surprise that the X3 Active-Hybrid is fully equipped with a power-everything cabin.

On the test mule, BMW went to some pains to spec the X3 with a particularly alluring leather-clad cabin. This makes the point that fuel-efficient vehicles of the future need hold no hardships for traditional, pampered BMW customers.

Great news is the performance. This X3 will accelerate to a hundred in just six-comma-seven seconds, and top out at two-hundred and thirty-five kilometres-per-hour. All at ten per cent less fuel than a slower, standard X3.

The only real differences will be keeping an eye on the different fuel gauges.

But such is BMWs faith in its system that, its claimed, the batteries will always have some power available for a performance boost.

As for production plans, hybrids with this type of performance cant be too far down the road.

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