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Major update for BMW connected cars brings new eDrive Zone function

BMW has deployed its biggest vehicle software upgrade to date, bringing a range of services for its connected cars, including a new eDrive Zone function on its plug-in hybrids.

The features are being added in to new BMWs with the Operating System 7 and can also be activated on existing compatible vehicles via a free over-the-air software upgrade

The new features are being added in to every new BMW with the Operating System 7, such as the new BMW 5 Series, and can also be deployed on existing compatible vehicles via a free over-the-air software upgrade, which will be available from the third quarter onwards.

Of key interest to fleets is the addition of eDrive Zones functionality to BMW’s plug-in hybrids. Using geofencing, the vehicle automatically switches to pure electric driving mode when entering low-emission zones in more than 80 European cities. Drivers will be encouraged to make use of the functionality in future through BMW Points, receiving points for emission-free journeys as part of a loyalty programme, which can be exchanged for rewards.

Other changes see BMW Maps updated to offer improved navigation, thanks to easier destination entry and new cloud-based route calculation brings a significant improvement in performance.  There’s also more support around parking with Connected Parking services.

BMW has also expanded its Connected Charging services with extra details on individual charging stations, such as opening hours, providers, or authentication options – and availability at a glance.

The updates will also support the newly announced plans for the BMW Digital Key, which enables iPhones to be used as a fully digital – and secure – vehicle key.

BMW has also now introduced wireless support for Google’s Android Auto under the update, while the Intelligent Personal Assistant gets a design overhaul and new smart functions. For example, the virtual character now turns towards the person talking and can distinguish between addressing the driver and the passenger.

BMW also stressed that while many of the new services and functions introduced with this latest upgrade rely on data, it only collects and uses information for specific purposes, and that with BMW and Mini CarData, customers have transparency and control over their personal data and can decide for themselves whether and with which service providers they want to share data.

Oliver Zipse, chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, said: “Digital technologies belong to the core of BMW – because hardware and software are of
equal importance for premium cars. Our mission is to integrate advanced digital technologies with highest product excellence to enhance our customers’ experience and driving pleasure even more.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006.