BMW big wigs have confirmed that a hybrid version of the 5 Series has been given the go-ahead, to be followed by a hybrid 3 Series
At BMW's 90th Annual General Meeting of stakeholders, CEO Norbert Reithofer said: “As early as next year, the new BMW 5 Series will also be available as a full hybrid."
Regular production and sales of the vehicle could begin in 2011, according to Reithofer.
The success of this model could pave the way for more hybrids from BMW, including the next generation 3 Series.
“We are anticipating the hybridization of further models series, such as the BMW 3 Series," Reithofer said. "We also work with modules in this field, choosing the most suitable hybrid solution for the respective model.”
Reithofer said that the market for hybrid vehicles in Japan has grown to the point that brands without hybrid models might "soon find themselves not selling cars in Japan at all."
The 5 Series hybrid is expected to be based on the BMW Concept 5-Series ActiveHybrid, seen at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. The car combined a straight-six petrol twin-turbo engine producing 300hp (224kW) with a 54hp (40kW) electric motor.
The concept featured an eight-speed automatic transmission, and used up to 10% less fuel than other 5 Series models.
Reithofer added that BMW is aiming to reduce average CO² emissions across its line-up by 25% between 2008 and 2020.
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