A new BMW SUV that's in the works, the BMW X5 eDrive, will reportedly get 62 MPGe, and 112 MPGe when you just run it on electricity. The prototype, which just became available for test drives, also comes with some very high-tech driving features.
Of course, the combined MPGe of 62 that BMW reports is alone much better than most vehicles on the road. That's about 2.5 times the average fuel economy in the US in 2013 (24.6 MPG). It's even considerably more than the 50 MPG average that a Toyota Prius gets. However, if you stick to electric driving, the efficiency of the BMW X5 eDrive is supposed to jump up to a level that leaves the Prius and all other gasmobiles in an increasingly outdated automobile era.
Even compared to another plug-in vehicle, 112 MPGe is a great rating. That would land this SUV as one of the top five most fuel efficient vehicles in the US. (Of course, the rating the EPA would give the vehicle wouldn't be the pure-electric rating but the vehicle's combined rating.)
However, driving the eDrive on electricity most of the time shouldn't be too difficult for a lot of people. The all-electric range of the X5 eDrive is 30 kilometers (over 18 miles), far further than most people drive to go to work or the store.
The electric motor isn't the only thing that boosts this vehicle's efficiency. The eDrive also has some very high-tech features that can improve efficiency a great deal.
"BMW’s proactive drive system—which is also applied in the X5 PHEV concept—is based on the principle that energy should not be used unless it is actually needed," a BMW press release states. "The vehicle should anticipate driving situations in advance, so that it can automatically prepare for upcoming requirements. The necessary information is supplied by the vehicle electronic system’s numerous sensors, the navigation system and, most recently, front-mounted radar and camera sensors."
The system the X5 eDrive uses actually pays attention to upcoming routes, speed limits, whether it's going to be going uphill or downhill, roundabouts, the urban environment, and more. In "Eco Pro mode," the X5 eDrive adjusts the transmission automatically and provides efficient-driving tips to the driver. The navigation informs the driver of not only the quickest route but also the most efficient route.
Going even one step further, the system gets to know the driver. It then takes into account your driving style when calculating routes. You can also check all sorts of stats regarding your driving habits and efficiency on a smartphone.
"Depending on individual driving style, ECO PRO mode can achieve a reduction of up to 20% in fuel consumption. A further 5% saving can be achieved by using the coasting function, Proactive Driving Assistant and ECO PRO Route," BMW states.
As one final bonus, onboard radar and camera sensors also pay attention to nearby vehicles (how fast they're going and how close they are). "Strategically timed gear changes can then be performed which provide sufficient deceleration, even without braking, to prevent collisions with vehicles in front. At the same time, gear changes can provide the necessary power reserves for overtaking and dynamic lane changes."
It still doesn't come close to the efficiency of a bicycle, but the BMW X5 eDrive, even thought it's an SUV, is certainly a step above any non-electrics on the road.