BMW and the city of Rotterdam have started the Electric City Drive project to cut CO2 emissions. A smartphone app tells hybrid drivers when they have entered the cities electric-only zones, advising them to switch to electric drive.
Geo posts are positioned around Rotterdam designating electric-only zones, which are picked up by the smartphone app developed by BMW. The app simply calls the driver when their hybrid has entered an electric-only zone – whether the driver chooses to respond and switch to electric drive, is voluntary.
According to development director Klaus Fröhlich, BMW could theoretically force its plug-in hybrids into pure battery operation when entering cities with high emissions by automatically switching off the combustion engine with the aid of GPS and navigation systems.
With diesel bans in Germany and fossil fuel surcharges in France causing a lot of friction, BMWs app contributes to cleaner air with zero costs to governments and drivers alike. The initial results are promising: they show that the project participants are prepared to switch over in around 90 per cent of the cases.
The Netherlands has a relatively high rate of electromobility uptake and has some 100,000 hybrid vehicles on the roads. However, even when put together with fully-electric models (which number less at 40,000), both still only account for a tiny portion of the 8.1 million vehicles on Dutch roads.