Thursday, December 12, 2013

BMW ActiveE sports car review [2 VIDEO]

The BMW ActiveE is a demonstration electric car based on the BMW 1 Series small family cars. It is the second vehicle after the Mini E to be developed under BMW Group’s Project i. The electric drive system is the latest addition to BMW’s Efficient Dynamics programme. The US Environmental Protection Agency official range is 151 kilometres (94 mi), with an energy consumption of 33 kW·h/100 miles, and the agency rated the ActiveE's combined fuel economy at 2.3L/100 km (102 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent).
The thing is, the ActiveE doesn’t have an engine. As readers love to point out, it has a motor. Where once there was an engine there’s now a huge battery pack about the size of a piece of luggage you’d try to carry on and fail to fit into the overhead bin. Protected in frontal collisions by sturdy bracing that takes up roughly the front half of the engine compartment, the underhood pack is one of three in the ActiveE. BMW’s description of batteries being located underhood, in the transmission tunnel, and in the space vacated by the fuel tank had us imagining lithium-ion cells squishing out of the car like marshmallow between the grahams in a terminally overstuffed s’more. Not true. The rear pack takes up a mere portion of the fuel tank’s former dwelling, and the trans-tunnel bundle is tucked neatly above a flat tray that covers most of the car’s undercarriage.
The ActiveE puts out 125 kilowatts (170 horsepower), a similar amount of power as found on other 1-series Bimmers. The ActiveE’s 32-kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery pack is slightly smaller than the Mini E’s. Aggressive driving and cold weather conditions reduced the Mini E’s range by 20 or 30 miles according to multiple reports from drivers. That’s exactly the kind of information that BMW needed to gather from its test drivers. BMW took that key finding from the Mini E program, and modified the ActiveE by using liquid cooling to control temperature range. That strategy maintains driving range despite cold weather. In my week with the vehicle (in mild weather, granted), I consistently managed between 80 and 90 miles of range.
The ActiveE has a 125 kW (168 hp) electric synchronous motor integrated into the rear axle to power the rear wheels, the same configuration that will be used in the BMW i3. The motor weighs 91 kg (201 lb) and delivers 249 N·m (184 ft·lbf) of torque. The curb weight of the ActiveE is 1,815 kg (4,001 lb), nearly 360 kg (790 lb) heavier than a BMW 135i, but the ActiveE has a 50:50 weight distribution. The liquid-cooled storage cells are located under the hood, in the transmission tunnel and where the fuel tank would normally reside. The rear-mounted electric motor reduces the trunk space to 200 L (7.1 cu ft) versus 280 L (9.9 cu ft) in the standard BMW 1 Series.