The BMW X5e range on electric – the hybrid saga continues

The X5e is now exactly 1 month old – and we have tried to find out how long it can actually drive on pure electric power.

Todays drive was from Godalming to Haslemere – a distance of 8.8 miles according to the navigation system.

The car was fully charged overnight – and we reached the parking spot in Haslemere with 21% battery power left. This should indicate that we could drive the car for a maximum of around 11 miles on a full charge.

The drive was a typical southern england drive, using the dynamic cruise control, so no speeding, and the car driven as smoothly as only the built-n computer can do.

There is a “but” her though – when the power level dips below 10% it seems impossible to drive on electric power on its own, as the car will warn you that there is not enough power in the battery to drive the demands of the car.

The BMW website states 

However, in purely electric mode, this
pioneering, unrivalled vehicle can drive approximately 19 miles completely emission free
and with zero fuel consumption.”

But this is of course not the reality we see with our car – it can drive approximately half of the advertised distance.

I will hasten to say that this may be a software problem, and it may be fixed by a software update, as all the data I can get is driven by what I see on the dashboard and from the BMW connected apps. So I hope this can be fixed without too many issues at the next service.

It has (as far as I can tell) changed from when the car was brand new – as we could only get 3-5 miles of range on pure electric.


On the positive side the stats tells us :



The last journey today was very short, and most of it driven mostly on batteries.

The “All journeys” is since the car was new btw.

The Hybrid saga – BMW X5e – map updates

Logging into BMW’s “Connected-drive” portal I found a new version of the car’s maps for Europe, and I started the download process – which you can do directly from the site – without download their “BMW updater” app – which I was unable to make work, on my Mac it just crashed every time I tried using it to upload to the USB stick.


The downloaded file is zip compressed :


it’s quite large – 23Gb compressed.

I tried copying it directly to the stick, but that did not work, so I uncompressed it – and ended up with a structure like this :


inside the directory was a structure like this :


i.e. 4 directories numbered 1..4, one pkg file, a config file and a signature file.

Then I uploaded the directory structure to the USB stick – but the car did not recognise this as a valid file.

I moved the file structure inside the top level directory to the root of the USB stick – and this time the car recognised it and I could start the upload, so I did this, turned off the car and went in. When I came back the upload had stopped – it turned out that the car had to be turned on while the upload took place – not exactly a good way of doing this BMW.

So we went for a drive – and around 45 minutes later the map-system restarted itself, just as we were entering the town of Winchester, our destination. A bit awkward. The system could have asked us for permission to restart – and we would have waited until we were stopped in a place where we did not need the map! 

Again – good of BMW to let us download updates over the Internet, but they really need to look at the way they have structured this, it really needs to be simpler in 2016!

The hybrid saga

The X5e has the ability to update it’s in-car maps by downloading the maps to a USB stick and plugging this into the car. All good so far.

But BMW has definitely not gotten the UX message on making their software easy to use – it took me at least 10 tries to download the software through their BMW – updater.


And then you need to key in a 20-character alphanumeric key to activate it! Not terribly intuitive BMW. 

When you think about it – this is a connected car – with it’s own internet connection, and it’s been activated with the map service separately, so why should it be this difficult? And what’s the story behind the 20-character key?

Btw. looking at the router it chews up a bit of bandwidth – glad we have a reasonably speedy internet connection.