(Pocket-lint) - BMW continues its push towards electrification with the announcement of the BMW X1 and X2 in plug-in hybrid form.

There have been a range of plug-in models from the Bavarians before, but we're now seeing plug-in options on more compact models - and this is an important step. This is less about providing a tax break for company car owners - as you might get on the 3, 5 and 7 Series - and more about providing cleaner options for those short trips.

The BMW X1 and X2 are popular suburban family cars and do a lot of the trips to schools or to the supermarket where, let's face it, you don't really need to be using a 2-litre diesel.

The new xDrive25e models provide up to 35 miles of electric range, meaning you can do those trips - with the benefit of regenerative braking - emission free. That is not only better for your engine, but you're putting less pollution into the air too. 

With a plug-in model you'll have to charge it somewhere and while public charging is an option, the better choice will be home charging. Sure, there's premium to pay to get onto the electric ladder, but you'll be making fewer trips to the petrol station in the long run.

Both these cars are powered by a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine with a six-speed Steptronic gearbox. That drives the front wheels, while the battery powered electric motor (95hp) drives the rear wheels. That gives a combined output of 220hp.

The battery is pretty small at 10kWh, but that means it will charge in 5 hours from a standard wall socket and if you have an electric charging point at home you'll be able to cut that down further.

The driver will get fairly standard controls over the drive system with the option to let the car balance the use of electric power, to drive only using electric or to save the charge to use later. It's essentially the same setup as the Mini Countryman hybrid.

The BMW X1 xDrive 25e will start at £38,200 and is available now, while the BMW X2 xDrive25e will be available from summer 2020.

Writing by Chris Hall.