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BMW ActiveE: Electric BMW 1-Series at Geneva

Thu, 10 Feb 2011

BMW 1-Series Electric - BMW ActiveE

It’s been a while since we first saw the BMW ActiveE, the BMW 1-Series with the gubbins from the MINI E bolted under the bonnet (and various other places) and intended as the next instalment in BMW’s plans to charge its customers to do real-world development and research.

In fact, the electric BMW 1-Series first crossed our radar in December 2009 and went on to be shown as a concept at the Detroit Motor Show a month later. And now it’s back at the Geneva Motor Show in March, only now it’s production-ready.

In this case, production-ready doesn’t mean you can pop down to the local Beemer showroom and grab a plug-in 1-Series. It means BMW are going to churn out 1,000 or so electric 1-Series and then lease them out to punters willing to part with serious monthlies to play at EV testers.

And it’s going to be interesting to see what improvement BMW has made to the electric gubbins in the 1-Series compared to the MINI E. They claim a range of 100-150 miles (depending on whether you use US standards or Euro Standards to compute it) and a recharge time of eight hours from a domestic socket. Par for the course.

But BMW has fitted the ActiveE with a system they call ECO PRO where it seems the car will turn the wick down to one on everything from the motor to the aircon to the heated screen to give you a fighting chance of getting where you’re going. Which might help.

Last winter MINI E drivers were complaining of a range of as little as 50 miles in sub-zero temperatures, so the ECO PRO mode might help. Mind you, your screens will freeze up and and your hands go blue – but you’ll have more chance of getting where you’re going. The nonsense that is the EV for anything other than urban use continues.

Now, if BMW were offering the ActiveE with a range-extender option as they will on the MegaCity, we’d see the point a bit more.

By Cars UK