RJEPLOG, Sweden — Electric vehicles are a linchpin of strategies to limit emissions and slow global warming, but they only help if people drive them.
Put another way, will consumers who have to grapple with challenging weather conditions value the driving dynamics of hybrids and EVs beyond those made by Tesla?
It's a question that explains why engineers from Magna International spent several weeks this winter driving around a frozen test track in the northern reaches of Sweden. From vehicles with electrified components to a brand-new prototype, they tested their hybrid and electric mettle across a range of harsh driving and cold-weather conditions.
One standout among a group of a half-dozen specially equipped cars is a BMW 218i outfitted with Magna's e2 Technology Demonstrator. The car comes equipped with a hybrid all-wheel-drive system with a gasoline engine and hybrid transmission, but with the e2 system, it can demonstrate 10 combinations of electric drive.
"It's a Milky Way approach," says Carsten Bünder, director of global product management for Magna Powertrain, meaning its versatile enough to span a galaxy of vehicles. "With this, we can simulate anything from an entry-level budget technology up to the top architecture."