BMW shows off new MPV as it rolls out new charging options for its Irish EV owners

New 2 Series Active Tourer gets a bigger nose

Unlike the recently-shown new 2 Series Coupe, the Active Tourer is once again front-wheel drive, and close to unique in offering MPV practicality

Unlike the recently-shown new 2 Series Coupe, the Active Tourer is once again front-wheel drive, and close to unique in offering MPV practicality

 

BMW Ireland is launching a new electric car charging programme for its EV customers, and is previewing the incoming new 2 Series Active Tourer.

Unlike the recently-shown new 2 Series Coupe, the Active Tourer is once again front-wheel drive, and close to unique in offering MPV practicality from with a premium badge. The Mercedes-Benz B-Class is, effectively, its only direct rival.

Once again, the Active Tourer platform shares with the likes of the BMW X1 and X2 SUVs (and, at alight arm’s length, the Mini Countryman) but its ‘UKL1’ platform has been significantly upgraded, and will go on to underpin the next-generations of X1 and X2. Prices for the new 2 Series Active Tourer will start from €41,225.

On the outside, you’ll spot the new Active Tourer thanks to the fact that, as with so many other BMW models, its nose is bigger - check out those flared ‘kidney grille’ nostrils. It’s not so flagrant in that department as some other recent Beemers, though.

iX cabin cues

Inside, the cabin picks up cues from the new iX electric SUV, with a variation on that car’s huge, curved, multi-screen display panel - which includes a 10.25-inch instrument display, and another 10.7-inch display for the infotainment system. BMW says that, to a large extent, physical controls have been done away with, leaving more space for storage areas and cupholders.

The cabin is a little roomier than that of the outgoing model, but don’t expect seven seats this time around - the longer Grand Active Tourer model has been dropped for the moment at least. Do expect a big boot, though - up to 470-litres, depending on the version, and you can stretch that out a bit by sliding the back seats; they move fore and aft by 130mm.

Hybrid options

You can also expect part-electric power. This time around the 2 Series Active Tourer gets two plugin-hybrid options, but BMW is holding back on the details of those just now. One of them should be a new, range-topping, 230xe though, with four-wheel drive (the rear wheels electrically driven) and with as much as 270hp on tap, plus an electric-only range of up to 55km.

At launch, you’ll be able to choose from a 220i (a three-cylinder 1.5-litre turbo petrol with 170hp thanks to a 48-volt mild-hybrid system); and a 223i (a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo, with 48-volt mild-hybrid, developing 204hp). If diesel’s still your thing, there will be a 218d, with 150hp. Co2 emissions range from 125g/km to 154g/km, at least until the mild-hybrid models arrive.

When they do arrive, you’ll be able to charge them using BMW Ireland’s new BMW Charging card. Described as a ‘one-stop’ charging option for BMW owners (and Mini owners too - there’s a Mini Charging card as well) the card will give you tap-and-charge access to more than 1,085 public charging points in Ireland - including up to 253 fast-chargers, plus the ultra-fast 350kW IONITY chargers.

The card will give you tap-and-charge access to more than 1,085 public charging points in Ireland.
The card will give you tap-and-charge access to more than 1,085 public charging points in Ireland.

New charging options

There are two levels of BMW Charging membership - a simple ‘pay as you go’ one, which just charges you the standard rate for whichever charger you’ve connected to, or an ‘Active Tariff.’ The Active version costs you €4.99 per month, but gets you discounts on the per-minute, or per-kWh costs of each charging point. For example, connect to a public 22kW charger (the boxy ones located on pavements, usually) and you’ll pay €0.23 per kWh (that’s a 3c per kWh discount on the standard ESB rate - doesn’t sound like much, but you’d drive out of your way to get 3c per litre cheaper petrol, wouldn’t you?), or €0.27 per kWh if you’re connecting to an ultra-high speed 150kW charger (that’s a more robust 10c per kWh discount).

If you’re connecting to a 350kW IONITY charger, using the BMW Charging, you’ll pay the same €0.73 per kWh that everyone pays, but you can upgrade your membership, for €13 extra per month, which would see you pay a mere €0.27 per kWh at IONITY points.

The good news is that if you’re buying a new electric or plugin-hybrid BMW or Mini model, you’ll get a year’s free membership to the Active Tariff. If you’re buying one of the new iX3, iX, or i4 models, you’ll get the IONITY upgrade for free too.

Kevin Davidson, managing director of BMW Group Ireland told The Irish Times: “This service removes the complexity of having to register with multiple providers and brings real value and convenience. This project is being rolled out for BMW and Mini customers across Europe and was launched in the UK earlier this year. We have also been working with Electric Ireland to make it easy for our customers to have charging facilities installed at home or in work locations.”

What it doesn’t mean is that BMW will be launching its own charging points - the company is already part of the same consortium of car makers that backs the IONITY project. However, Davidson did say that other efforts to expand the charging network are going on: “BMW Ireland’s retail network are in the process of implementing EV infrastructure at their premises including the installation of additional charging facilities. We also are continuing to lobby Government to encourage more extensive investment into EV charging facilities especially for people who do not have off-street parking at their home.”