Most new cars you buy these days have apps that accompany them as part of the ownership experience. Our long-term 2022 BMW 330e xDrive is no exception. Via the “My BMW” app, you can do all sorts of things, and we’ve been testing it out.
Since we have the 330e PHEV, the app has even more features and menus to dive through than just a purely gasoline-powered BMW. In fact, it’s a playground for folks who love to track their charging habits, energy use, costs and so on.
Starting with the basics, though, the My BMW app’s home screen is just what we like to see in a car app. Our Portimao Blue Metallic 330e greets us on the opening screen, and it’s even wearing the right optional wheels and optional red-painted M Sport brakes — in many cases, car apps feature generic images of a model, not your specific car as equipped. Seeing our exact car as optioned in the app just gives us the warm fuzzies that you should be feeling when paying big bucks for a luxury vehicle.
Alerts or action items are clearly visible (but not annoyingly so) at the top. Below this, you get the main row of buttons that you’ll normally find on a key fob. From anywhere in the world, you can lock, unlock, sound the horn, flash the lights or remote start the 330e. It takes about 20-30 seconds in between button presses on the app and response from the car, which is a reasonable response time for over-the-air demands.
A “vehicle finder” is able to help you locate the 330e if you’ve forgotten where it’s parked, but scroll further down, and you get to the juicy stuff. A “Charging” section is here that displays how many charging sessions you’ve done in a month and how many kWh of energy you’ve charged. Tap into this section, and a goldmine of data appears. The app logs every single charging session from when it started to when you reach 100% or unplug. You get the location it was charged at, how long the charge took, how much energy it took in, mileage … the list goes on.
Even more intriguing is a cost calculator. Assuming you tell the BMW app how much electricity costs (per kWh) where you’ve plugged in, the app will automatically calculate how much money each charge costs you. When trying to do calculations to see how much money you’re saving by driving around a PHEV, this could be an invaluable feature.
In our testing, a 0-100% charge costs approximately $2, give or take a few cents depending on the specific city’s energy costs. Driven reasonably, our range test showed the 330e has about 25 miles of electric range before the 2.0-liter turbocharged gas engine kicks on. After depleting the battery, the 330e xDrive is rated for 25 mpg combined. That math is easy — one full charge has been equivalent to about one gallon of gasoline in our case. The average price of gas has been all over the place over the past year, but the common theme has been expensive. Considering our 330e requires premium fuel, the savings from plugging in are even greater. Using today’s average of $4.52 for a gallon of premium, it costs us a little under half as much money to run the 330e on electricity as it does fuel. If your driving doesn’t take you further than 20-25 miles per day, those savings are going to add up!
Without the app breaking this down, the advantages of a PHEV may sound a little nebulous or difficult to calculate. It’s truly great to see BMW making the information available to those who care to see, as it’s a definite plus to the ownership experience.
Beyond this nerd stuff, BMW has packed a ton of other features into the app like a charging scheduler (allows you to schedule when charging should begin)/remote start scheduler, charging station finder (we still prefer third party apps), a service scheduler, owner’s manual, a trip history tracker, range readouts for gas and electric range, and of course, a way to buy other BMWs/additional things for your current BMW. At least those last two items are in other tabs that you can completely ignore if you so choose.
The last bit we’ll note is just how smooth and glitch-free the app has been over the months of use. It’s clear that real effort was put into making it enjoyable and frustration-free to operate. Not every manufacturer can say the same about their app, and it’s a part of the ownership experience that is becoming more and more important as we stride into the EV future.
To read all of our coverage on our long-term 2022 BMW 330e xDrive, click here.