BMW 1series ActiveE an Autoweek Flash Drive Car Review

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BMW ActiveE Electric Cars

BMW 1-series ActiveE, an Autoweek Drive Car Review

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October 10, 2011 3:02 pm ET

What is it?

BMW’s series production electric the 1-series ActiveE, is coming in numbers to the United States in BMW says it will build no than 1,100 copies of the

To be offered to customers on a two-year/31,000-mile similar to that of the earlier Mini E, the zero-emissions coupe as a technological test bed for BMW’s i3—a compact four-door previewed in concept form at the Frankfurt motor show. set to go on sale in 2013.

Unlike the two-seat Mini E, relied largely on off-the-shelf technology and was developed with the of U.S. firm AC Propulsion, the 1-series ActiveE was conceived in-house at BMW’s Munich, RD center. BMW worked closely a series of system suppliers it will play an important in the new i brand and its initial i3 and i8 models. of the driveline components are unique.

The coupe was heavily modified to the ActiveE’s electric drive Among the more significant is a new crash structure up front, an transmission tunnel down the of the steel floorpan, a reworked structure and a completely revised assembly.

Power comes an electric motor mounted at the in the space usually taken up by the of the standard 1-series. Produced at Dingolfing factory in Germany, the unit produces 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of the moment you depress the throttle—33 hp but 24 lb-ft more than the E’s electric drive

By comparison, the 128i’s naturally 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine delivers 230 hp and 230 lb-ft of

Electrical energy to run the motor is by three separate banks of batteries mounted under the down the center line of the within the altered transmission and under the rear seat. they have an overall of 32 kilowatt-hours and provide a peak of 400 amps.

The battery cells hail a joint-venture company created by giant Samsung and German-based specialist Bosch called SB The control electrics, the brains of the system, are located in the trunk. capacity is cut nearly in half, to seven cubic feet.

In a BMW says was prompted by lessons with the Mini E, the batteries liquid cooling to ensure performance in all climates. Recharging is via a socket located behind the fuel-door flap. Using the charger that BMW offers as of the 1-series ActiveE lease the company claims recharging between four and five on a standard outlet.

Drive is to the rear wheels via a single-speed

Despite the investment BMW has made lightweight construction technology its new i brand, the 1-series ActiveE an all-steel body shell any aluminum or carbon fiber to trim pounds. The standard bench seat was, exchanged for the seat used in the M coupe, which is claimed to 11 pounds. Still, the new car’s weight is put at a portly 4,001

What is it like to drive?

A underwhelming at first sight, to the lack of styling changes the standard 1-series coupe. You a bulge in the hood to accommodate the battery, a uniquely styled bumper, a spurious lack of at the rear and a slightly higher height. But besides some graphics, that’s about it.

In the driver’s seat, it also like any other 1-series you hit the starter button, release the handbrake and flick the gear into drive.

BMW ActiveE Electric Cars

The delivery of from the electric motor to the wheels is silky smooth and refined. The only hint of its is a distant whir under On the run, it is the heavy damped of the tire, rolling across the wind roaring around the mirrors and the odd ping as stones are into the wheel housings provide the main sensation of

Like most modern-day cars. step-off performance is if not exactly dazzling, owing to the Official claims have the ActiveE accelerating to 37 mph from in 4.5 seconds, with 62 mph coming up in 9.0 Top speed is limited to 87 mph to protect the of the battery.

While the upcoming i3 is set to a range of up to 140 miles, the heavier ActiveE can travel just 100 on a full charge.

To accumulate as kinetic energy as possible on the run, the ActiveE boasts an recuperation mode similar to of the Mini E. When the driver away from the throttle, the motor acts as a generator, sufficient levels of retardation you rarely need to rely on than a fleeting dab of the brakes, to 11.8-inch discs at each at around-town speeds. It’s so BMW programmed the brake lights to when you lift the throttle.

Unlike other recent cars, the Volkswagen Golf included, BMW decided against the zero-emissions 1-series with multistage energy recuperation.

The degree of deceleration is a little at first, causing your to rock forward as you enter a of trailing throttle. But it quickly second nature to rely the electric motor than on the when approaching a red light to the battery charge so that the range remains as high as The trick to smooth progress in city traffic is a progressive as you come off the throttle.

A departure the Mini E is the so-called EcoPro Activated via a button on the center it alters the throttle mapping to it less aggressive while the performance of the air conditioner—all in the interest of charge.

We were a bit surprised by the 1-series ActiveE’s dynamic Given its weight and 205/55R-16 low-rolling-resistance Bridgestone Turanza tires, we didn’t expect it to be near as entertaining as it is. Granted, it match the high standard set by conventionally powered versions of entry-level coupe, but by electric-car it is surprisingly fluid in its actions and real poise when through corners.

The placement of heavy items as the batteries, which alone more than 660 pounds, and an motor as low as possible helps, of leading to a relatively low center of But BMW must also be commended for the chassis tuning, which the 1-series ActiveE with sporting appeal. With electric steering geared at 2.9 lock-to-lock, it turns in to corners precision and provides an impressive of grip before the onset of the stability-control system.

Despite the ride height, a necessary owing to the added weight, is little body roll. The is characteristically firm. But on the smooth-surface around Munich, the suspension—a of MacPherson struts at the front and at the rear—proved to be nicely controlled faced with uneven surfaces.

But we’ll reserve our on the ride until we can get onto more challenging roads. the brakes, which are electrically

Do I want one?

The 1-series is available only on a limited deal and to select customers. remain sketchy, but BMW says 700 cars are earmarked for the United

The car is well engineered, highly and convincing to drive. But the question needs to ask themselves when an electric car is, how much do I drive on a day? If it is less than 100 the 1-series ActiveE could be as an alternative to more conventional 1-series coupe models, you’ll need to ensure access to electricity both at workplace and at home.

You’ll need to ask yourself whether you can with a car that is compromised in of practicality, because of the cramped and the relatively small trunk. If it has to be an car, we’d suggest you for the i3, which promises to offer performance, range and practicality to its lightweight construction and unique

You can reach Greg Kable at .

BMW ActiveE Electric Cars
BMW ActiveE Electric Cars
BMW ActiveE Electric Cars
BMW ActiveE Electric Cars
BMW ActiveE Electric Cars
BMW ActiveE Electric Cars

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