Winding Road Driven 2012 BMW ActiveE Electric Vehicle

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BMW ActiveE Electric Cars

Driven: 2012 BMW ActiveE Vehicle

January 30, 2012


Last week, BMW leasing its ActiveE, a pure EV on the 1-Series platform. 700 ActiveE will be available to residents of Hartford, New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco. We recently had a to drive this test-market EV 17 Mile Drive in Monterey,

Apart from the rolling-billboard scheme, the ActiveE appears on inspection to be a normal, automatic 1-Series. The body is essentially the as a 128i, apart from a domed hood, and the interior is identical as well, though the is replaced with a charge/discharge Further, iDrive has some of charge data and energy that don’t exist in the 1er.

Building the ActiveE on the makes a lot of sense to us. The 1 is about as and light as BMWs come, serves to extend range and the price in check, while the is one of our favorites in the BMW catalog. The wisdom of choice is reinforced once because the ActiveE feels and the sightlines are quite gooda virtue in city driving.

And, because the ActiveE has a of about 100 miles on a full an urban context is indeed the usage pattern for this

[Click here to read our of the 2012 Fisker Karma]

handling is reminiscent of the 1-Series, as you expect. If you’ve driven car, the ActiveE is similar in feel to a 135i with the suspension and perhaps two passengers on Roll is well controlled, the is excellent, and the handling feels at moderate speedsalthough you definitely the mass of the car through the steering.

Most people expect the of an electric car to be different, and indeed it is, but we think that’s primarily the driver will notice. In that’s because modern (and other premium are pretty quiet to begin and in part because many of the that remain, in a gas or electric are tire noise, impact and wind noise. So you don’t a muted-but-lovely six-cylinder engine you drive the ActiveE, but you do hear a bit of motor whine.

There’s a but the difference doesn’t transform the experience.

The big difference between the and the 1-Series, or almost any other comes when your into the throttle. The ActiveE’s motor produces 170 horsepower and 184 of torque, significantly less the 230 horses of the 128i. But hold judgment until you read our on acceleration below.

An EV offers a different driving in large measure through the of the electric system. When you ask for power, you get it pretty much We’ve remarked on this in our of the Tesla: you don’t realize how slack is in even a manual performance car until you drive a EV.

And it means that comparing between EV and gasoline drivetrains is not a matter using specifications.

In the this responsiveness is fun because BMW has the car with enough torque to it feel fast. 0-60 per hour is quoted as arriving in under 9 seconds, which is special. But when you drive the it is the immediate availability of mid-throttle that you notice.

BMW ActiveE Electric Cars

Under part throttle, in acceleration, the ActiveE reminds us of a WRX and certainly feels quicker in scenario than a 128i. to be clear, if you floor the throttle, the EV seem so fast, which is the 0-60 time shows. But if you on the gas as you would in normal point-to-point and the ActiveE feels quick.

As point of comparison, the ActiveE has it all the Nissan Leaf in fun-to-drive and it clearly bests the Chevrolet as well. In part that’s to the better chassis, but a big chunk of the is due to putting enough torque on to cross an emerging threshold of EV

Of course, the other issue EVs is price. The BMW ActiveE is available by only at a cost of $499 per for 24 months, with a down of $2250. That’s almost the same the lease price of a ($471 per month for the base no options, 24 month term, down, 10,000 miles per so BMW is clearly trying to remove the barrier to getting the test

The other economic element to assuming an EV suits your regime, is operating cost. BMW that the Active should use 22 kWh per 100 miles. Electricity costs but a typical 10,000-mile driving should cost about for electricity in the states where the is offered. That compares about $1500 per year for for a 128i.

Not bad.

Let us be clear: this is an car and, if you like the BMW brand, a deal. The only restrictions are you have to be a household in which a two-door coupe works.

BMW ActiveE

Engine: One Electric

Output: 170 hp/184 lb-ft

BMW ActiveE Electric Cars
BMW ActiveE Electric Cars


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