BMW EVolve App for iPhone – Click above for high-res image gallery
I want an EV. Call me an early adopting sucker, but I've been actively considering an electric vehicle after spending a week with the Tesla Roadster Sport. But the Tesla is way beyond my meager means and the Nissan Leaf is just too pedestrian for my gearhead tastes. So what's left? Not much. The Focus Electric makes a strong case for itself, but it's still a ways out, and while the Tesla Model S certainly has styling, size and geeky sex-appeal on its side, like the Roadster, it's beyond my budget.
So there's one option left. And it's a good one. With rear-wheel drive, a reasonable range and a lease price that – while yet to be set $499 a month with a $2,250 downpayment – I've been assured should be within reach of a full-time blogger. I'm talking about the BMW 1 Series-based ActiveE. And if BMW's latest app for the iPhone and Android is any indication, the ActiveE could be the perfect fit for me. But what about you?
It's a brilliantly simple little app, this. You type in your area code, agree to some terms (including the option for BMW to track your usage) and then every time you set out on a drive, it logs your trip, mileage, time and fictional range to determine if an all-electric vehicle is right for you.
Over the course of five days of testing, I drove from Fremont, CA to BMW's R&D lab in Mountain View, spent a full day house-shopping in Oakland and drove out to San Francisco for a late-night viewing of the Chinese Grand Prix, along with my usual errands and caffeine runs. The result? After logging over 130 miles and averaging around 37 miles per day, the ActiveE and I seem to be a match.
In addition to tracking your driving, the app breaks down your individual trips – including stop-overs and the potential for flex-charging (juicing up on the go) – and based on your routine, calculates if a vehicle with a 100-mile range is something to consider.
The EVolve app from BMW will be a free download from the Apple App Store and Android Market when it hits later this month, and if you're seriously considering the switch to a gasoline-free existence, it's worth the minimal effort to keep track of your daily driving routine.
The only issues we had were a handful of crashes during testing, but that's something that should be sorted by the time the official build is released. Check out a brief demo of the EVolve app in the video above and get ready for the full details on the ActiveE later this week.