BMW to introduce auto EV mode for 2020 plug-in hybrids

The new technology will rely on geo-fencing.

BMW has announced a new feature for its plug-in hybrids that will automatically switch the vehicle to electric mode when entering certain urban centers. BMW is also rolling out a new incentive program intended to encourage owners of its plug-in hybrid vehicles to use EV mode more often.

Several European cities are making the move to emission-free urban areas and BMW is responding with a new technology known as eDrive Zones. The system uses geo-fencing technology to detect when a vehicle is entering an emission-free zone. Once a plug-in crosses that line, eDrive Zones will automatically switch the vehicle to electric drive.

BMW says the new eDrive Zones technology will be standard on all of its 2020 plug-in hybrid models.

Additionally, BMW is rolling out a new incentive program that it hopes will increase electric driving outside of mandated urban areas. The concept is called BMW Points and it rewards plug-in drivers with points based on the number of kilometers covered using electric power. Drivers can also earn points for using high-voltage battery chargers.

Those points can then be redeemed for free charging on the Charge Now network, as well as on products from Share Now, Park Now and the Connected Drive Store, beginning in 2020.

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