http://www.wired.com/autopia/2009/08/bmw-concept ****Click on the link for pics and video *************** We were as shocked as anyone when BMW announced it was quitting Formula 1 to devote more resources to developing cleaner, greener automobiles. There was some skepticism, but BMW wasn’t blowing green smoke. It’s serious about building eco-friendlier pavement-peeling cars. First up is a slick 356-horsepower all-wheel-drive plug-in diesel-hybrid concept that BMW claims accelerates like an M3, sips gas like a Toyota Prius and can go 31 miles on battery power alone. It’s called the Vision Efficientdynamics Concept, and we’ll see it later this month at the Frankfurt auto show. No, Vision Efficientdynamics Concept doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. But the name aside, BMW has a dynamite idea on its hands here. The EfficientDynamics is a 2+2 four-door hybrid that combines M Series performance with better fuel efficiency and less emissions than you see in many compacts. BMW performs this magic by marrying its ActiveHybrid technology with an extremely economical engine and excellent aerodynamics. The result is a concept car with a top speed governed at 155 mph and a zero-to-62 acceleration time of 4.8 seconds. More impressive, the car gets 62.2 mpg and emits a Prius-like 99 grams of CO2 per kilometer. Power comes from a 1.5-liter direct injection 3-cylinder turbodiesel engine and an electric motor on each axle. The engine was small to squeeze in between the rear seat and the rear axle, which should make the Efficientdynamics Concept very agile. The diesel puts out 163 horsepower and 214 pound-feet of torque. Add in the motors and total output is 356 ponies and a stump-pulling 590 pound-feet, though you can only get that much power in short bursts. The car has all-wheel-drive when running in electric mode. BMW says the car can run on the diesel engine, either one of the electric motors or any combination of the three. The lithium-polymer battery pack sports 98 cells. It delivers 8.6 kilowatt-hours for driving the car, and BMW says the serial arrangement of cells has gross storage capacity of 10.8 kilowatt-hours. The pack weighs 187 pounds and BMW says it doesn’t need an active cooling system. BMW says the battery recharges in 2.5 hours at 220 volts. All that tech is housed in a body designed with some serious inspiration from BMW’s Formula 1 cars. BMW says the Vision has a drag coefficient of 0.22, aided in part by the myriad vanes and ducts. People are going to love it or hate it, but you’d expect nothing less from BMW even without controversial designer Chris Bangle around anymore. So far the Vision is just a concept. Still, BMW has made it clear it plans to make sustainability a cornerstone of its lineup, so we’re sure to see some of the technology in road cars before long.