From China for China: BMW Teams up with Brilliance to Create 5-Series Plug-in Hybrid Sedan

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BMW has teamed up with joint venture partner Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd. to develop a new plug-in hybrid model based on the long wheelbase version of the local market 5 Series Sedan, which is available exclusively in China. The prototype model will receive its world premiere at the Auto Shanghai 2011 later this month.

The German company noted that the properties of the plug-in hybrid model “are geared closely towards the demands of the Chinese automotive market”. The parallel hybrid set-up comprises of a 160 kW (215HP) combustion engine featuring BMW’s TwinPower Turbo technology and an electrical motor with a maximum output of 70 kW (94HP). The Bavarian automaker did not give out any other information on the type of engine used in the sedan.

The electrical motor is fed by a high-voltage battery housed in the luggage compartment and can be charged through the mains power supply. According to BMW, the 5-Series Plug-in Hybrid can travel purely on electric power for up to 75 kilometers (47 miles) at a constant speed of 60 km/h (about 37 mph). The combustion engine provides a minimum additional range of 400 kilometers or 249 miles, which BMW says, is in line with driving profile of Chinese customers in the premium segment.

BMW said that the model-specific components for the plug-in hybrid drive, power electronics and high-volt battery were all developed in close with its local partner Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd.

Series production of the 5-Series LWB Plug-in Hybrid is scheduled to start in China in 2013. The specific hybrid model will not be offered anywhere else, at least in this form.