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BMW can convert hybrids to electric only mode in polluted areas

BMW said it can force its hybrid cars convert into an electric-only mode in highly polluted inner-city areas, helping its vehicles rival with pure battery-driven competitors as a raft of cities seek to create emissions-free zones.

“The car switches off the combustion engine automatically,” BMW’s board member for development, Klaus Froehlich, informed Reuters at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Due to BMW vehicles’ connectivity and navigation systems, its cars can be switched to automatically disable engines, Froehlich stated, adding that the new X5 sports utility vehicle got an operating range of 80 kilometers in electric-only mode.

BMW is right now demonstrating the technology to regional officials in German cities which may be forced to ban highly polluting diesel cars as a way to fulfill European Union clean air regulations.

A global clampdown on vehicle pollution following Volkswagen’s 2015 diesel emissions cheating scandal has urged cities including London, Paris and Stuttgart to think about bans of combustion engine vehicles.

But customers have shied away from purchasing electric cars because of a lack of charging infrastructure, making hybrids a better option for now.

Such a vehicle could be significant in regions such as Europe, where most drivers do not own multiple cars for various uses, he stated.

Germany’s highest administrative court in February ruled cities could prohibit diesel vehicles from some streets for the betterment of air quality.

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