BMW Concept Active E - EXCLUSIVE REPORT


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SEE ALSO: Complete BMW ActiveE Press Kit

With Concept ActiveE, BMW shows it can make a proper EV

By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
Amsterdam Bureau
The Auto Channel


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MUNICH - December 16, 2009: With just a dozen German colleagues, I had a preview of the Concept ActiveE, BMW’s second car that is prepared under Project-i. The ActiveE will be unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on January 11th. Under Project-i BMW is investigating the possibilities for personal transport in mega cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Mexico City, London, and Paris.

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The first car that was built under Project-I is the Mini E, which was unveiled in November 2008 at the LA Auto Show. On the day prior to the unveiling, I had the opportunity to drive the Mini E in and around Beverly Hills (CLICK HERE to read that review)

So, this week, BMW took the time to inform us about Concept ActiveE. In fact, it is the follow up for the Mini E. In total more than 600 units of the electric Mini hit the roads this year for tests in New York, Los Angeles, Berlin, London and Munich.

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In 2011 the ActiveE will also serve as a test bed for the electric vehicle that is due “In the first before 2015,” according to Dr. Klaus Draeger, Member of BMW AG’s Board.

No decision has been made yet in what cities the ActiveE will arrive, but the number may be about the same as that of the Mini E.

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Mr. Ulrich Kranz, project leader of Project-I said that new developments in lithium-ion battery technology enabled BMW to build the ActiveE as a proper four seater. The batteries have been developed in cooperation with SB LiMotive, a joint venture between Samsung and Bosch and because of their smaller size offer better possibilities for developing a normal car

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The lithium-ion battery pack of 5,088 modules takes the space of the rear seats and trunk, but in the ActiveE, which is based on the 1-Series Coupe, the battery pack that consist now of 96 modules could be ‘hidden’ under the center of the car, under the rear seats and in the front part of the trunk, leaving space for two golf bags.

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Dr. Draeger said that his company has to look into the possibilities of electric mobility, especially since the world population will grow from 6.8 billion people to 8 billion by 2025. “All those people will go after the standard of living that we enjoy now, which means they will want to own a car. It is added value for our company, our environment and our society, if we can reduce CO2-emissions,” said Dr. Draeger. He said that there is not a single solution, or there are not separate measures for sustainable mobility by that time, but one of them is electro mobility. Sounds sensible enough!

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In this field of improving fuel efficiency and reducing CO2-emissions, BMW is already leading in the premium class, thanks to its EfficientDynamics technologies that are implied across its complete fleet of cars. Dr. Draeger does not say BMW is going to build a slew of EVs by 2015, but the Bavarians want to be ready to bring an electric vehicle on the roads in big cities, want to be in the picture as a manufacturer that knows how to build a proper electric vehicle that also meets the expectations of BMW clients.

Dr. Draeger also explicitly said that BMW is definitely not cancelling its Hydrogen project that runs with the 7-Series H. “But we will not build a new hydrogen vehicle and we will stick to the 7-Series. Hydrogen and especially its infrastructure have a long way to go.”

Tomorrow, I will tell more about the outcome of the tests with the Mini E in Berlin. I'll think you'll find it interesting enough to return.

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