SemaConnect Blog


May 1, 2012

BMW Active E: The Precursor to BMW’s High-end EV line

[Image Source: CleanMPG]
By Joseph Tohill
Earlier this year BMW, began rolling out its latest addition to the EV market: the BMW Active E. In total, 700 Americans will be driving around in the new car – participants in BMW’s field-testing for its upcoming line of EVs. Individuals can drive the Active E on a 24 months lease, paying $449 month after a $2,250 down payment.

 
Although BMW is only testing the waters with its latest instalment in the EV market, user feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive. If these cars are only a “test”, clearly BMW has big things in store for its official release of the all-electric BMW i3 next year.
 
According to Rich Steinberg, manager of Electric Vehicle Operations and Strategy in Nashville: “The BMW Active E is part of our ongoing strategy to develop environmentally friendly, yet high performance vehicles.”
 
And in typical BMW fashion, it has marked its territory in the higher-end of the EV market.
 
The official range on the Active E is 94 miles. It features a 32 Kwh lithium-ion battery and takes 8.5 seconds to reach 60 miles an hour. All of this is fairly standard stuff for an EV these days.
 
But where the BMW Active E really shifts ahead is with its superior regenerative breaking and silky-smooth handling.
One reviewer noted that accelerating and breaking could be achieved with just a single pedal. As soon as you release your foot from the accelerator, the car’s regenerative breaking kicks in and begins to slow the vehicle down. Without even touching the break, the car will eventually come to a stop.
 
Mastering regenerative breaking on the Active E will allow users to get the most out of a single charge.
 
In terms of features, the BMW boasts all the things one would expect from a luxury vehicle. It comes with a well-designed leather interior, heated seats, on-board navigation (including EV charging station locations), and satellite. Clearly BMW will be targeting consumers with a taste for luxury.
 
The only question that remains is how BMW’s new line of luxury EVs will fare compared to the other 
 
EVs on the market. There’s growing competition amongst all the major automakers now to dominate the EV market.
 
Will the next generation of EV-owners be more inclined to maximize cost-savings by purchasing a cheaper EV, or will they go all out with the purchase of a BMW i3?
 
I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Joseph Tohill is a freelance writer and online communications specialist for organizations in the sustainability sector. He has a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of British Columbia and spent most of his academic career studying sustainable urban development; namely the interdisciplinary relationship between built form and natural environment.

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