BMW introduced the ‘eDrive Zones‘ earlier this year. These are geo-mapped areas of big cities, where BMW’s plug-in hybrid models will automatically shift to EV mode, whenever you’re driving inside these charted out areas. Through this new tech, BMW hopes to help cut CO2 emissions in busy city centers and help reduce pollution. The newest models come with this feature activated. However, for older models, you’ll have to activate this function yourself.

In order to do so, you need to first update your iDrive system. Don’t worry, it’s not a complicated process and you don’t have to go to the dealer to do it. Those days are over, as BMW introduced over-the-air updates a while back. All you have to do is enter the Apps sub-menu from the iDrive 7 main menu, then press the Option button located next to the iDrive controller on the center console and then press on ‘Update apps and services’.

Your car will then update your iDrive system. After that, once you enter the ‘installed apps’ sub-menu, you’ll find the eDrive Zone sub-menu. Enter it and you’ll just have to check the eDrive Zone box and, if you want, the ‘Show on map’ option, so that you can see the actual area where the eDrive zone is mapped out. Now, whenever you enter one of these eDrive Zones, your car will automatically switch to ‘Electric’ mode.

You’ll get a banner in the iDrive system telling you that you’re now driving using electricity alone. If you’re driving with the gearbox in Manual or Sport mode the switch will not be triggered automatically. Also, if you’re already in Electric mode, the car will pop a banner simply telling you that you are now in an eDrive zone. Once you leave the eDrive zone the car will automatically switch back to the Standard driving mode.