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Going Green Explained

BMW continues its innovation in sustainable technologies for a sustainable future

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Story by Jim Murray

Never in my nearly twentyyears in the auto industry have so many new, ecologically advanced technolgies been available, nor so many options from which customers can choose. More than ever before, we all want to do our share in protecting the environment while still enjoying all the pleasures of driving. Today’s technologies come with new terms: hybrid, ethanol, flex fuel, diesel, and hydrogen, as well as Valvetronic, efficient dynamics and intelligent engine design. To help you understand these technologies better and make better choices, here are a few explanations:

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Efficient Dynamics Efficient Dynamics

is the guiding principle of a special BMW engineering research group that focuses on eliminating inefficient driving situations involving high fuel consumption. Efficient dynamics is all about designing vehicles that offers drivers maximum power and dynamics when they need it, while making sure the vehicle consumes less fuel when not going full throttle. The questfor dynamic efficiency has also made BMW a leader intelligent engine design, innovative transmissions and a comprehensive commitment to ever greater weight reduction on all new BMWs. We call this commitment to weight reduction “intelligent lightweight build.” It means we use construction materials that are light yet also most appropriate, from an engineering perspective as well as in terms of cost to the eventual customer. Intelligent lightweight build is particularly evident in the New 5 Series, 6 Series and the X5.

BMW Valvetronic Engine

Today more that ever, BMW is the leader in designing what customers want: powerful engines that are also fuel efficient. The BMW Valvetronic engine really is a milestone in engine design. It achieves excellent responses atfull power, and ensures low fuel consumption under normal driving conditions. It makes for better cold start behavior and reduces exhaust emissions. In order to achieve maximum efficiency, the Valvetronic also features full variable lift control of the intake value and delivers the exact volume of combustible air to the engine. The new 335i Series and the 535 Series both have the Valvetronic engine and are prime examples of our new technology in action. Be warned to bring your chequebook when you test drive one, as you may be more than tempted to bring it home.

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Diesel Engines: Power and economy that whispers

Diesel is not a new fuel, but in recent years new technologies have led to tremendous increases in diesel fuel efficiency and the lowering of diesel emissions. Today’s diesel engines are considerably more powerful and fuel efficient than regular gasoline engines. Will Diesel will big the next big thing for BMW in Canada? The European markets have been on board with diesel for many years, and BMW with indeed be coming out some exciting and very powerful diesel engines in 2008. BMW diesel engines are an example of BMW’s innovative strengths in engine design, as they combine all the sportiness as our gas engines with outstanding fuel efficiency. Our Digital Diesel Electronics system controls fuel injection timing, fuel load and load pressure, creating precise tuning in any driving situation, which in turn leads to enhanced running refinement and low emissions. And on top of that, our diesel engines are quiet. I have had the experience of driving the last generation non-turbo 2004 BMW 530D diesel in Munich, and I was thoroughly impressed. It was more powerful than the gas version and it did not make the audible noise that one might have expected from a diesel engine. I actually had to look atthe badging to know whether I was driving the gas version orthe diesel version of the vehicle!



Hydrogen is the zero-emissions fuel of the future: at least, that is how BMW sees it. BMW is due to start a limited production run of our Hydrogen 7 Series in the Dingolfing plant later this year. These will not be sold on the open market but will be loaned to public figures, who will use the technologyto demonstrate an emission-free future. Although it may be some years before we see a hydrogen BMW for sale in our showroom, it’s exciting to know that some day, you’ll be able to purchase your high-performance, zero-emission vehicle at Brian Jessel BMW.


While hybrid vehicles have had a great deal of buzz in recentyears, in my opinion the verdict is notyet in on whetherthe pros outweigh the cons of hybrid vehicles. While there is no disputing that hybrids will give you the same fuel economy as a diesel vehicle, with far lower nitrogen oxide and particle emissions, the upfront cost, the added battery weight, and the precise-metal mining required for inside the batteries are the negatives related to hybrids as they are currently constructed. In addition, battery life expectancy and battery disposal are issues to consider when choosing this technology. But don’t rule it out just yet, as I think hybrid technology will continue to improve. BMW certainly has its eye on this one.

Ethanol or Flex Fuel Technologies

The United States has been the biggest supporter ofthis technology offering, although there are currently only 1300 stations offering ethanol in the continental US. The upside of ethan, is that pure ethanol has a 116 octane rating and burns slower and cooler than gasoline, thus producing fewer emissions in the cylinder, and gasoline engines require only modest modification in order to run on 85 percent blend of ethanol and gasoline. On the downside, much debate is currently taking place as to whetherthis technology is going to be sustainable in the long run.

Producing ethanol whether in the form of corn, switchgrass or other plant could overstress water supplies and disrupt food production, particularly in countries such as China. One thing is for sure: new technologies for a sustainable future are constantly being created and refined, and it’s up to all of us to stay informed in order to make the best choices. And another thing is for sure: BMW will always be on the forefront of creating those technologies. For more information about BMW’s commitment to an emission-free future, please visit and explore the section on Clean Energy.

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