Plug-in hybrid vehicles are an increasingly unusual choice for consumers looking for something that boosts gas mileage on their daily commutes. They’re somewhat imperfect in that they have two powertrains — one gas and one electric — that lend more weight, complexity and cost than a normal hybrid, which doesn’t need to be plugged into a wall. But they can operate in all-electric mode for significantly longer distances than regular hybrids thanks to higher-capacity onboard batteries. Those batteries come in different capacities, enabling some PHEVs to go farther than others on electric power alone.
BMW’s 2020 X3 xDrive30e plug-in hybrid is on the smaller end of that battery capacity, which makes sense given it’s a modified gasoline vehicle instead of a fresh, ground-up design. So how far can it go on electric power alone? I drove one to find out.