BMW, eager to get in the electric-car arena, announced this week in New York that it will lease 700 of its BMW ActiveE cars beginning this fall in select markets for a $499 per month, 24-month lease with $2,250 down. The ActiveE, a four-seater, is based on the 1 Series Coupe. The company will begin taking reservations for the ActiveE in late summer, and the competition for those spots is likely to be fierce.
Want to get in on this test-bed for BMW’s first all-electric car, the i3? You’ll need to live in New York, Boston, certain areas in Connecticut, or one of four California cities: Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco or Sacramento.
Here’s what FamilyCarGuide finds exciting about the ActiveE.
First, it is one step closer to getting BMW in the all-electric car market. The research and development team at BMW is moving quickly toward the launch of a mass-produced all-electric and emission-free vehicle dubbed the Megacity Vehicle (MCV) or, otherwise identified as the i3. In fact, the BMW ActiveE uses the same specially-designed lithium-ion batteries that will go in the i3. The automaker says these batteries feature liquid heating and cooling, as well as the ability to pre-condition the vehicle while connected to the grid. The battery pack is expected to provide a range of 100 miles.
Second, the ActiveE should prove attractive for commuters or for use as a second family car for in-town commutes. It seats four, has a range of 100 miles, and electric motor developing 170 horsepower and a maximum of 184 pounds-feet of torque. Top speed is limited to 90 mph and ActiveE can do zero to 60 mph in under nine seconds. This is plenty of power and range for in-city driving in normal circumstances.
Third, charging is fast and flexible. With its standardized SAE J1772 charging port, the ActiveE can be recharged in three ways: from a wallbox with a 32-ampere charging deck installed in the home, conventional power socket, and publicly accessible charging station. The ActiveE will be fully charged in four to five hours (using the wallbox 32-ampere setup) and can achieve a range of about 25 miles after a one-hour charge.
Fourth, expect the ActiveE to attract some attention. It looks good, has distinctive interior colors and features high tech goodies and many innovations. Dakota Leather seats in Pearl Grey with blue contrast stitching, Alpine White interior trim (available for the first time) on dashboard and door linings, and special ActiveE appliqués. Even the tires are new. ActiveE will have the latest generation tires with optimized rolling resistance. BMW says these tires increase rolling resistance up to 20 percent, compared to the previous series production tires. Wheels are BMW’s lightest – 16-inch alloys and boast a double V-spoke design.
Fifth, the BMW ActiveE gives consumers – and BMW – time to become more accustomed to real-life driving experiences in the electric vehicle market, especially consumers looking for an all-electric, emissions-free luxury car.
FamilyCarGuide will be following developments as the ActiveE takes to the road this fall – and will report here what we learn. In the meantime, let us know your thoughts about this second electric vehicle from BMW (the first was the MINI E) available for consumers. Will you be among the 700 looking to lease? Or will you wait for the i3 (MCV), which is for “larger urban areas”?
Check out MotorAuthority for more coverage on the BMW ActiveE.