BMW’s ActiveE: Customers Will Field-Test New Electric Car in 2011
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Danville, CA
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BMW says it will begin delivering its first electric car, the ActiveE, to customers by next summer. The move is perhaps the strongest indication yet that electric cars –not hybrids, but pure electrics – are here to stay. BMW wouldn’t build the cars if it didn’t think it could eventually sell them at a profit.
The company says it will lease the car, which is based on the 1-Series coupe, to select customers in certain parts of the country. People will have to sign up in order to be considered for the field test. When the leases expire, BMW says, it will collect the cars and examine them piece by piece to see how they hold up to everyday driving. Drivers are also expected to give detailed feedback on the cars’ strengths, weaknesses and their pet peeves.
The company’s Mini division is already running a similar program with electric-powered Mini Coopers it leased to about 450 drivers. BMW says the ActiveE program will be bigger, but declined to say how many drivers will receive the cars initially. The test is part of a plan to have a broader range of electric cars as a regular part of the company’s lineup.
A company spokesman said the electric BMW will feel sporty and handle sharply like other BMWs. Its design places the electric motor at the rear axle and the battery in the center of the car to keep a 50-50 weight distribution front to rear, which helps handling. Unfortunately it weighs several hundred pounds more than the entry-level gas-powered 1-Series, which will slow it down. The company says the ActiveE’s zero-to-60 mph acceleration time is less than nine seconds, or about as fast as a 3-Series BMW from 20 to 25 years ago. Still, I bet it will be more fun to drive than a Toyota Prius, Chevrolet Volt or Nissan Leaf.
1993 325i - gone!
1997 328i - gone!