BMW has chosen to officially premiere its ActiveE at the upcoming 2011 Geneva Motor Show. As you can see, this successor to the Mini E in the automaker's electrification program doesn't stray too far from the concept version that's been showing up at various events over the past year. In fact, it appears as if only the lower fascia has been changed.
With a modest 168 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, the four-seat lease-only coupé isn't going to tear up any quarter-mile strips. It takes it a full nine seconds to reach 60 miles per hour from a stop, and top speed is limited to 90 mph. It should, however, handle like a proper Bimmer. The weight has been evenly distributed 50/50 front and rear, thanks in part to the parceling out of the liquid-cooled SB LiMotive batteries into three separate packages. One lies beneath the hood, another in the legacy transmission tunnel and the third has found a home beneath the rear seats.
Like most electric vehicles with AC motors, the ActiveE has regenerative braking. Unlike the others, it has an intermediate position between going and slowing, so that when you ease of the accelerater, it enters a gliding phase. In many situations this could be more efficient than engaging regen. Hit the jump for a fancy little computer-generated introduction to the ActiveE and its drivetrain as well as the offical press release.
*UPDATE: Added a second video featuring the actual car on a track. This footage features some motor sound and also better reveals the bulge in the hood necessary to accommodate the front battery pack.
The 2011 Geneva Motor Show will see the world premier of the BMW ActiveE. Based on the current BMW 1 Series Coupé, the BMW ActiveE is the second electric test vehicle to be created by the BMW Group.
With four seats and a luggage compartment of 200 litres, the BMW ActiveE is the first electric vehicle from the BMW Group to combine the space and comfort of a traditionally powered BMW with a fully electric drivetrain. Intelligent packaging ensures that the driver and all three passengers have the same head, leg and shoulder room as they would in a standard BMW 1 Series Coupé.
At the heart of the BMW ActiveE is a powerful electric synchronous motor which propels the car from zero to 60mph in just nine seconds, delivering 168hp and maximum torque of 250Nm, from a standing start. While its top speed is electronically limited to 90mph. The BMW ActiveE maintains the dynamic driving style that is typical of a BMW, with a low centre of gravity and 50:50 weight distribution to enhance traction and power transfer of the high torque.
Replacing the engine block, transmission and fuel tank are three large energy storage units containing lithium-ion cells, developed in conjunction with SB LiMotive. These modules are protected by a steel-plate battery housing with integrated liquid cooling system, to keep the batteries at optimum operating temperature helping to increase the range. These housings also help to ensure that the BMW ActiveE meets the same stringent safety standards as the BMW 1 Series Coupé, meeting and exceeding the levels legislated.
The BMW ActiveE is engineered so that when the driver takes his foot off the accelerator pedal the motor becomes a generator and feeds the electricity created from kinetic energy back into the vehicle battery, while at the same time braking torque is created, slowing the vehicle down. This recuperation of energy can increase the range by up to 20 per cent.
For the first time in a BMW Group electric vehicle the BMW ActiveE features an 'intermediate position' for the accelerator pedal that results in the car's own kinetic energy being used to move forward, without consuming energy from the batteries. In essence it is a 'gliding' mode. With previous electric vehicles when the accelerator lifts the car automatically starts to brake. To further increase the range of the BMW ActiveE ECO PRO Mode can be selected whereby the drive configuration and comfort functions are modified to use less energy and facilitate a more efficient driving style. In ECO PRO mode the heating and air conditioning system are programmed to use less energy and the accelerator demands less power with the same travel.
The BMW ActiveE retains the dynamic looks of the traditionally powered BMW 1 Series Coupé but with circuit inspired graphics, a scoop in the bonnet and a closed rear apron, with no exhaust pipes, to distinguish it. Inside Pearl Grey Dakota leather seats with Blue contrasting seams, along with a revised instrument cluster are the main indicators of the electric drivetrain. Instead of the traditional fuel gauge and rev counters the dials show the level of charge left in the battery and the amount of energy being used and recuperated.
The BMW ActiveE is not dependent on a specific energy source and so can be charged using 32-ampere wallbox in five hours, or overnight from a conventional domestic socket. This allows greater flexibility allowing the car to be charged wherever there is an electricity supply.
Starting in 2011, a test fleet of over 1,000 BMW ActiveE vehicles will be trialed in the USA, Europe and China and will provide valuable insights into the everyday use of the electric vehicle. The knowledge and insights gained from the field trials of the BMW ActiveE will be fed back for the future development of the Megacity Vehicle, due to go into production in 2013. BMW UK will be leasing BMW ActiveEs to select customers. Further details will be announced in due course.
The BMW Group
The BMW Group is one of the most successful manufacturers of automobiles and motorcycles in the world with its BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brands. As a global company, the BMW Group operates 24 production facilities in 13 countries and has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.
The BMW Group achieved a global sales volume of approximately 1.29 million automobiles and over 87,000 motorcycles for the 2009 financial year. Revenues totalled euro 50.68 billion. At 31 December 2009, the company employed a global workforce of approximately 96,000 associates.
The success of the BMW Group has always been built on long-term thinking and responsible action. The company has therefore established ecological and social sustainability throughout the value chain, comprehensive product responsibility and a clear commitment to conserving resources as an integral part of its strategy. As a result of its efforts, the BMW Group has been ranked industry leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes for the last six years.