Detroit 2010: BMW Concept ActiveE

By Chris Haak

01.12.2010

IMG_2923Taking the 500-car Mini E test program to the next logical step, BMW’s 1 Series-based Concept ActiveE, which made its world premiere in Detroit yesterday, will undergo a similar consumer-driven field test over the next several months.

Unlike the Mini E, which lost its back seat in the conversion from a gasoline-fueled subcompact car to an electric-powered test bed, the Concept ActiveE will boast four seats with about 7 cubic feet of trunk space.  The car is expected to accelerate from 0-60 miles per hour in about 8.9 seconds, a top speed of about 90 miles per hour, and a real-world range of about 100 miles.

BMW has bestowed the Concept ActiveE with a Toyota-like driver-selectable Eco mode to extend the vehicle’s range.  It will also have the capability of receiving a full charge in about five hours using a standard residential-grade high-amperage power supply.  Some Mini E lessees were frustrated by difficulties in installing the apporopriate charging hardware in their homes, only to find out that on standard 110-volt household current, the Mini E took more than 24 hours to charge, rendering the car theoretically useless for a full day’s worth of driving, since folks usually need their car sooner than 24 hours after their last trip.

IMG_2925The Concept ActiveE’s electric motor produces 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque.  Power is stored in a specially-developed lithium-ion battery pack with a stable temperature regulation function, since lithium-ion batteries are somewhat fickle about being the optimal temperature.  BMW predicts that the Concept ActiveE will accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in less than 9 seconds.  Hardly neck-snapping acceleration, but at least the company predicts that with the car’s 3900-pound curb weight, the car will handle similar to what is expected from the standard 1 Series coupe.

Though the Concept ActiveE surely has regenerative braking (almost a must-have in an electric vehicle), I found it telling that the press release made no mention of it.  Perhaps BMW is sensitive to the criticism that was heaped on the Mini E by myself and others about its extremely aggressive regeneration, even when the brake pedal wasn’t being touched.  Regen was surely a major focus of the Mini E’s driving range, but I’m guessing that a software update will eventually correct that issue in the Mini E, and that BMW probably dialed it back big-time in the Concept ActiveE.  We won’t know for sure until someone outside of BMW actually gets the drive the car, though.

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Author: Chris Haak

Chris is Autosavant's Managing Editor. He has a lifelong love of everything automotive, having grown up as the son of a car dealer. A married father of two sons, Chris is also in the process of indoctrinating them into the world of cars and trucks.

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2 Comments

  1. It seems we will all be donning the hair shirt in terms of driving an electric car, at least in the near future. This car does mor promise what I consider BMW performance. Can I have a diesel, sir?

  2. So it will charge fully in five hours on a 220 line? That’s not bad at all.

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