(Some) Electric BMWs to Hit the Road Next Year Autopia Wired com

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Some) Electric BMWs to Hit the Road Next Year

DETROIT BMW, taking a page from its Mini-E playbook, will lease the attractive Concept Active-E electric cars to selected customers next year.

Ulrich Kranz, head of the German automaker s Project i team developing low-emissions city cars, says the car will indeed hit the road next year in limited numbers, but he wouldn t say how limited. If the Mini-E trials are any indication, we ll probably see about 500 in Europe and the United States.

They ll almost certainly be as expensive as they are exclusive.

Mini leased the cars to customers for a jaw-dropping $850 a month in what is essentially a big RD project to refine the technology. BMW says some of the info gleaned from those trials went into the Active-E, which made its debut here at the North American International Auto Show.

The Active-E is a 1-series converted to electric power, and it looks to be a lot more practical than the Mini-E because it s got room for four and a small trunk.

It s rear-wheel drive, and those wheels are powered by a synchronous motor mounted in the differential housing. It puts out 125 kilowatts (170 horsepower). That s about what you ll get from the 120i. More impressive is the torque 184 pound-feet, all of it available the minute you hit the accelerator.


Juice comes from a liquid-cooled 32-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery developed with SB LiMotorive. It s mounted in the transmission tunnel and under the hood.

The Active-E weighs 3,900 pounds, which is porcine for a car its size but nothing out of the ordinary for an EV. BMW says the car has perfect 50/50 weight distribution. Stomp on it and BMW says the Active-E will do zero to 100 km/h in 8.5 seconds. That s on par with the 116i and 118i models. Top speed is limited to 145 km/h (90 mph).

Look for a range in the 100 mile ballpark and a recharge time of six hours at 220 volts. Like the Chevrolet Volt. a smartphone app will let you keep tabs on the state of charge, set the charging time and monitor other info.

No word on when BMW will start taking applications from those looking to lease the cars. If you re interested, be warned: The process for the Mini-E was pretty arduous. That won t keep us from putting our name on the list, just as soon as we figure out how to hide the monthly lease in our expense reports.

Photos: Chuck Squatriglia / Wired.com.

BMW ActiveE Electric Cars
BMW ActiveE Electric Cars

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