In order to combat air pollution in urban cities, many countries in Europe has established what’s known as “low emission zones” in major cities to limit the entry of heavy pollutants.

Although these areas usually do not affect modern petrol and diesel cars, BMW has joined the cause by rolling out a new feature called ‘BMW eDrive Zones’ to all BMW plug-in hybrid models in Europe.

The feature uses GPS geofencing technology to prespecify low-emission zones, with the eDrive Zones clearly marked on the on-board navigation system. When the vehicle enters an eDrive Zone, it will then automatically switch to a fully-electric driving mode, thus releasing zero emissions to the air.

The vehicle will remain in EV mode in the eDrive Zones for as long as the battery allows. In the event that the battery-reserve runs out, the internal combustion engine will automatically kick in – no need to worry about being stranded on the streets.

The BMW eDrive Zones have now been introduced in approximately 80 European cities, including major cities in Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and France.

BMW says that the eDrive Zones will be expanded in the future to include other cities and countries to further increase electric-only driving on PHEV vehicles.

In order to incentivise BMW drivers to activate the BMW eDrive Zones, the brand will be introducing a BMW Points loyalty programme later this year. Each electrically driven kilometre will count as a point, and within an eDrive Zone, the points are doubled.

By collecting a sufficient number of points, BMW owners can gain access to attractive rewards such as free charging credits on the BMW Charging network.