BMW displayed a near-production version of the Concept ActiveE at the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The German automaker is taking the next step toward a green fleet with an ActiveE test model at next month’s 2011 Geneva Motor Show. The ActiveE test model builds on a frame developed for the 2012 BMW 1 Series Coupe on sale this spring in North America. BMW has announced that the ActiveE should begin road testing around the world by the end of 2011.
This all-electric sedan utilizes a 125kW electric motor powered with lithium-ion batteries designed by SB LiMotive. BMW designed the ActiveE body with even weight distribution on the front and rear axles to ensure proper handling as well as improved fuel economy. The ActiveE is designed with four full-sized seats as well as seven cubic feet of cargo room to accommodate families and carpoolers.
Test drivers chosen by BMW will put new features like the glider mode and the ECO PRO mode through the motions. BMW developed a glider mode that allows a driver to lay off the accelerator, activating a reserve of collected energy from the brakes as the primary power source for the motor. The ECO PRO mode reduces energy consumption by heating, air conditioning and the accelerator to decrease energy consumption by 20%.
BMW estimates that the ActiveE can reach 60 miles per hour from a dead stop in just over nine seconds. The automaker electronically limited this test vehicle to 90 miles per hour as a means of extending range. Estimated recharge times top out at five hours for a full recharge using a standard household outlet though BMW is likely to offer a quick-charge feature in the vehicle’s first generation.
The ActiveE test model is slated for extensive testing by drivers in Europe, China and North America by December 2011. These tests will involve 1,000 units of the ActiveE that will be involved in at least a year of daily driving. BMW is looking at basic performance metrics as well as driver comfort before recommending the ActiveE for future development. This research should inform the final version of the Megacity EV due in European showrooms by 2013. New features like the glider mode and ECO PRO mode should boost the Megacity’s prospects in an increasingly competitive EV market.