Test BMW X3 30e: SUV with plug-in hybrid drive only charges slowly

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Just when I had my boss on the phone, there was a quiet pling-pling in the X3 test car that made me believe that an assistance system wanted to tell me something very urgently. But there was no indication in any of the three displays. I was wrong and it takes a moment to figure it out. The really excellent speakerphone passed the clatter of Volker’s computer. Since I talk to him on the phone every Monday from a wide variety of cars, I can say: Phoning in the X3 is a rare acoustic pleasure. As a plug-in hybrid, the BMW X3 30e showed completely different qualities in the test – and also small weaknesses that the facelift just presented does not change anything.

With the X3 30e, BMW came onto the market at just the right time. The plug-in hybrid has been available in SUVs since November 2019 and has benefited from massive subsidies for this type of drive. In the end, it is a little more than 4000 euros that the taxpayer encompasses in total, the manufacturer comes with another 1875 euros.

The basic model of the test car would have cost just under 52,000 euros. With the model revision, BMW has improved the standard equipment – and of course takes this into account. The least expensive X3 30e now costs 2400 euros more.

One thing has not changed with the update: the state support means that plug-in hybrid buyers get a lot more pull for their money. The petrol engine has an output of 135 kW, the electric motor 80. Together they throw a maximum of 215 kW into the ring. If you want that from a combustion engine alone, you have to pay significantly more for your X3. The hope behind the subsidies is that there will be plenty of electric driving, so the environment will somehow be less polluted with this choice of drive. The fact that an empty 2065 kg SUV is ultimately being promoted with this thought should make one thoughtful.

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The BMW X3 looks much bigger than a 3 Series. But the traffic area they take up is almost identical.

At least that’s what our consumption data suggests. In the “I-don’t-charge-the-battery” mode, we came to a minimum of 6.5 liters / 100 km. This requires the will not to exhaust the existing performance potential under any circumstances. Even if you only touch it gently, you will end up at 7.5; if you are unreasonable, more than 11 liters are of course also possible. It goes without saying that a large, heavy car with a lot of power is being moved here, a combination that needs to be supplied.

BMW specifies the net energy content of the battery as 11.15 kWh. In the test, around 12.5 to 13.65 kWh were required for a complete charge, depending on whether the X3 was supplied with a wallbox or with the standard pre-charger. Here, too, there is a considerable range in terms of consumption and range. The latter was at “battery-friendly” 18 degrees at best 46 km, at a minimum it was 32.

Calculated back to the amount of electricity on the wallbox (12.5 kWh), this results in a minimum consumption of 27.2 kWh / 100 km, in connection with the pre-charger it was 29.7 kWh / 100 km. To write it again explicitly: These values ​​were created under ideal temperatures and with a very gentle driving style. The maximum consumption in the test was 42.7 kWh / 100 km, which resulted from the combination of “recharging with the pre-charger” and “ruthless driver”.

The Federal Environment Agency estimates that 366 grams of CO2 per generated kilowatt hour, 408 grams are reported for 2019. Electrically traveled kilometers are therefore a little less polluting year after year in relation to the CO2-Balance sheet. On average for the year, an X3 30e, moving cautiously electrically, including charging losses, should be around 35 kWh / 100 km. So that is not an economical use of resources.

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If you drive exclusively on electricity and use actual consumption as a basis, with the assumed average consumption of 35 kWh / 100 km and an electricity price of 30 cents / kWh, you get 10.5 euros for 100 km. Despite the CO2 pricing, which has been in effect in the first stage since this year, the economic incentive to charge instead of refueling remains low. In addition, X3s used on business are often presented with a fuel card, but electricity has to be paid for privately by the driver.

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