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Europe: BMW electric 1-Series ActiveE

Motor: synchronous electric motor (12,000 rpm max. speed)
Battery pack: 2kWh lithium-ion, 192 cells/25 modules divided between three compartments
Power: 170 PS
Torque: 250 Nm
Range: up to 100 miles
CO2 emissions: zero at tailpipe but overall impact depends on fuel burnt at power station
Top speed: 90 mph (artificially limited)
Acceleration (0-60 mph): 9 seconds
Price: trials vehicle not available for sale

BMW’s 1-Series ActiveE has more or less the same staid upright looks as any other 1-Series Coupé but beneath the plain wrapper it’s one of the most advanced cars on the road. In place of the standard car’s conventional petrol or diesel powertrain, the ActiveE has an electric motor, although it does stick with BMW’s traditional rear-wheel drive layout, and the battery modules are arranged around the car in three compartments, contributing to a near 50:50 weight distribution, another typical BMW trait.

And the ActiveE doesn’t just use any old electric motor and batteries because it previews the technology that will go into BMW’s first purpose-designed electric car, the radical i3, which will be introduced next year. The ActiveE isn’t being sold to the general public – instead a thousand or so are being used in trials, of which 160 will form part of the fleet of cars that are being used to shuttle officials and competitors around London during this year’s Olympics.


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