BMW eDrive available in hybrids across Europe

16 March 2020

16 March 2020

Almost 80 European cities have given the go-ahead to BMW's eDrive system. Using geofencing technology, eDrive zones trigger an automatic switch to the pure electric mode in BMW plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). Designed for urban areas, the eDrive system looks to encourage emission-free driving in cities.

The approach taken by the German car manufacturer means that an eDrive zone can be established for each metropolitan area specifically. According to BMW, this would allow cities to promote electromobility, further increasing the quality of life in urban areas.


Using geofencing technology via GPS, the BMW PHEVs will automatically change over to purely electric driving modes. When the service is activated, each available eDrive zone on the navigation map will be graphically highlighted in the vehicle's control display. BMW hybrids will be emission-free for as long as the charge level of their battery allows within the dictated zone.

The eDrive service comes as standard in various BMW PHEVs. Cars currently covered are the 745e, X5 xDrive45e and 330e, with further models to follow successively.

The system was developed from a pilot project in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. There, 50 PHEV drivers were given access to GPS coordinates of defined inner-city areas via a dedicated app. When entering the outlined locations, drivers were asked to switch over to the purely electric driving mode Maxx eDrive. Within a few months, they had already covered around 90% of all routes within the Rotterdam eDrive zone using only their cars' electric mode.

A number of European cities and their low-emission zones are already covered by the zone. All 58 cities and regions in Germany that have a defined low-emission zone are included. Outside of Germany, 20 other areas in major cities in Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium and France are covered. This list is set to expand to include additional countries and cities.

Points mean prizes

The BMW Points loyalty programme will also be introduced later this year. The scheme will reward BMW PHEVs drivers for electric driving via a points-based system. Every electrically driven kilometre will count, with eDrive zones offering twice the number of points. Drivers will also be issued challenges on a dedicated app, such as charging up every morning, which will earn them further points.

Once accrued, BMW points can be exchanged for rewards. This could include free packages from ChargeNow, as well as ParkNow and offers on the BMW connect store.

Whilst systems and incentive schemes like these will help to promote cleaner urban driving through the use of green technology in PHEVs, some consumers may find themselves questioning the long-term practicality of a hybrid. The availability and range of purely battery-powered vehicles is increasing, as too is the charging infrastructure. With the launch of cars like the Mini Electric, consumers already have viable urban alternatives to turn to.