A prequel to the future

A prequel to the future

A prequel to the future. An impossible turmoil of activity goes on beneath the BMW ActiveHybrid7’s skin. Sensors gather data, microprocessors fire and...

An impossible turmoil of activity goes on beneath the BMW ActiveHybrid7’s skin. Sensors gather data, microprocessors fire and countless lines of software code cascade like great, nerdy waterfalls. Actuators sort out instructions and convert energy into motion. All of these much before you leave the pit.

On July 23, 2014, Philipp von Sahr, president, BMW Group, India, unveiled what can be called as a car borrowed from the future—the ActiveHybrid7. While the global front is familiar with the concept of hybrid cars, India’s espousal to these were limited to cars like Mahindra Scorpio Hybrid or the Toyota Prius (to a very limited extent). But then, the ActiveHybrid7 is different, in a lot of ways.

If you had to choose between contributing to the environment and better space and comfort, what would it rather be? While most hybrids stuck to giving away most of their space for batteries, compromising on comfort, it was the BMW which asked the buyers ‘why not have both?’ Interacting with The Hans India, Philipp von Sahr says, “Hybrid vehicles are milestones in a time of change toward low-emission driving. It's no coincidence that we call our hybrid models ActiveHybrid. It is the perfect choice to savour the agility and performance of a BMW 7 Series in a hybrid vehicle, without having to compromise in any way on comfort or spaciousness.”

On the exteriors or the interiors, it does not look any different that the outgoing 7-Series. Like any 7-Series, you are intending to buy, even these are completely customisable (read make your own car).

What makes it special is what happens underneath the hood. The electric motor and petrol engine of the vehicle work in perfect union supported by a lithium-ion high-performance battery and coordinated by an intelligent hybrid system. The TwinPower Turbo six-cylinder in-line petrol engine with 235 KW (320 hp) and 450 Nm of torque is distinguished by its free-revving character and power delivery. Its tremendous thrust can even be perceptibly increased with temporary support from the 40 KW electric motor via the boost function, such as when overtaking. It would provide an impromptu extra power without any additional fuel consumption. The eight-speed automatic transmission accommodates the electric engine and the separating clutch. The vehicle accelerates from 0 to 100 kmph in only 5.7 seconds with a system output of up to 500 Nm of torque. In pure electric mode, the vehicle can be driven without generating local emissions at up to 60 kmph, with a range of up to four kilometres.

The high-performance lithium-ion battery supplies the energy needed to run on electric motor alone with maximum efficiency. The innovative battery is charged on every journey and with the help of energy regeneration as soon as you lift off or apply the brake.

The 2014 ActiveHybrid7 is available at an all India ex-showroom price of INR 1.35 crore.

To conclude, BMW is being realistic, with anticipated sales in the country being in the tens, rather than the hundreds. If you’re a wealthy technology fan who thinks a bit about the environment, then step into the car and taste the future.

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