World-First eDrive Zones Technology Launches in the UK

BMW is the first car manufacturer to use GPS geo-fencing technology in designated areas across London and Birmingham

Friday 7 August, UK: As cities increasingly discuss the introduction of “low emission zones”, BMW is making another important contribution to boost the uptake and attractiveness of electromobility among consumers, by launching BMW eDrive Zones in London and Birmingham.

With electric ranges of up to 54 miles, BMW plug-in hybrid models are built with cities in mind, as they can complete most commuting trips on pure-electric power. This new technology helps drivers do just that.

BMW eDrive Zones is a new digital service which automates the process of switching to electric-only power when a BMW plug-in hybrid vehicle enters a defined area of these cities. The service, unique in the worldwide automotive industry, also automatically ensures that the electric power is conserved for use during the part of the journey within the low emission zone, if the journey destination is entered into the vehicle’s navigation system.

The BMW eDrive Zones service uses geo-fencing technology via GPS within the vehicle’s navigation system. The eDrive Zones in London and Birmingham are highlighted graphically on the vehicle’s Central Control Display navigation screen, so drivers can see their location.

This feature, which is enabled in compatible customer vehicles as of today, covers the same geographic area as the TFL Congestion Charge/ULEZ zone in London, whilst in Birmingham the service covers the city’s planned Clean Air Zone, which is due to be implemented in 2021. BMW plans to introduce this technology in additional cities across the UK and Ireland in the future.

BMW eDrive Zones technology provides many benefits, for both the driver and the city in which it is enabled. For customers, the automated nature of the service will help reduce fuel consumption and therefore lower the cost of each journey. Emissions and vehicle noise are reduced when driving in city traffic, helping to improve the quality of life in urban environments.

The launch of this new technology ensures BMW plug-in hybrid models offer consumers the best of both worlds: electric-only driving in the city, where it makes the most difference and a highly efficient internal combustion engine to cover long distances.

The significant contribution plug-in hybrid vehicles can make to reducing tailpipe emissions in cities was demonstrated in an early trial of this technology, carried out in the Netherlands in 2018. Results of this research project showed 90 per cent of all routes within the trial zone in Rotterdam were driven in electric-only mode.


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