2012 Detroit Auto Show: BMW ActiveHybrid 3

The BMW ActiveHybrid 3 made its North American debut at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. In early 2013, BMW will bring to market the first hybrid version of the popular 3 Series model.

Even though not confirmed by BMW, we expect the ActiveHybrid 3 to use a 3.0 liter six-cylinder turbocharged TwinPower engine aided by an electrical engine to deliver an additional 40 kW (about 53 horsepower). The hybrid technology is similar to the one seen in the BMW ActiveHybrid 5. The electric motor in the latter model develops 40 kW/55 hp and is supplied with energy by a high-performance lithium-ion battery integrated into the luggage area.

To increase efficiency, the lithium-ion high-performance battery is charged when the car is coasting or braking, the electric motor performing the role of a generator feeding energy into the high-voltage battery. By contrast, under acceleration the electric motor takes on a boost function. Here, it assists the petrol engine by generating an ultra-dynamic burst of power.

The innovative hybrid system features a coasting mode (with the engine switched off) active at up to 160 km/h (100 mph).

In our opinion, the ActiveHybrid 3 will become a West Coast customers’ favorite, and a popular car among “green technology” advocates.

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