A review perfect for soon to be BMW 330e plug-in hybrid (PHEV) drivers
The BMW 330e saloon offers up to 22 miles of all electric operation with all electric speeds up to 120 km/h (about 74 mph). The car utilizes Sport, Comfort, and EcoPro settings for the drivetrain as well as Max Electric and Save Battery settings for the hybrid aspects of the drivetrain
Hi i’m Adam from the Fleetdrive Electric team and I’ve been driving this BMW 330i plug-in hybrid for the last 10 months.
The vehicle is a 2 litre petrol four-cylinder twin turbo engine, but most importantly it also has a 7.6 kilowatt battery. What that means is that I’m able to drive 20 miles or so on pure electric each time I charge. BMWs reported figures are between 23 and 25 miles per charge, my real-world electric range is between 16 and 19 miles depending on weather conditions. What that means is that for the vast majority of my commute to the office and home I can I can run on electric, it’s only for my longer journeys that I would use the petrol engine
The combined miles per gallon reported on this vehicle is 148 which seems quite staggering because in the 16,000 miles that I’ve travelled my average is showing as 55.6 which is a massive difference. However what I can say through looking at the BMW Connect portal is that of that 16,000 miles I’ve actually driven 6,304 miles on pure electric and that equates to a saving of 615 litres of fuel, and that for me is impressive.
There are three driving modes with this vehicle; auto e-drive where the vehicle will decide when to use electric and when to use petrol, maximum e-drive where it will only use electric whilst the cars till has charge, and then you’ve also got battery save. I personally think the best thing to do is leave it in auto e-drive mode, as this does seem to maximise the electric range and the engine will only kick in when it’s absolutely necessary.
I think what’s really important with these plug-in hybrids is that they do provide a real taxable benefit to company car drivers; driving this vehicle as a 40% tax payer will cost you about a £111 per month, if you compare that to a 2 litre diesel automatic equivalent vehicle that would be £290 per month. Big saving, you know it’s over £2,000 in a taxable year. That’s great but in doing so you also have to plug the vehicle in. If you do not plug the vehicle in your fuel costs will rise, and the vehicle is really most suited to the lower mileage business user. The higher mileage business user will see his tax bill reduce but his fuel costs increase and at the end of the day with any of these plug-ins to maximise range you have to plug them in at any given opportunity.
In summary, this vehicle is great it gives me a much lower tax bill, it drives really well I just have to manage the mileage range. Do I think plug-in hybrids are the future? Possibly not. But I do think they are a stepping stone to what the future is, and that’s pure electric.