Coming to the next North American Auto Show in Detroit, BMW will show a 1 Series based EV called the Concept ActiveE. This is yet another piece of evidence that all of the big auto manufacturers will be getting into making electric vehicles in one way or another. And, since this is a BMW, it looks like they’re tying to keep it as fun to drive as possible.
Let’s deal with the specifics first, and then we can talk about the potential impact after that.
The BMW Concept ActiveE is rear wheel drive and that means it should be fun to drive, especially when you consider all the torque that electric motors can churn out. And speaking of the EV 1-Series is powered by synchronous electric motor that is all new and was designed and will be purpose built for this car. The motor develops 125 kW/170 bhp, and puts out a maximum torque of 250 Nm / 184 lb-ft. The electric motor gets its juice from a lithium-ion battery pack that was jointly developed by BMW and SB LiMotive (a German electronics firm). The custom tailored battery features a new stable temperature regulating function that optimizes the battery packs performance.
Weight? Well, as for all things EV, it’s kind of on the porky side. The BMW Concept ActiveE tips weighs 1,800 kilograms or 3900 lbs. Given the size of the BMW 1 Series, that is pretty hefty, but not all that bad for an EV.
In wanting to bring the performance up to BMW standards, they have kept the center of gravity low and have kept weight distribution as even as possible. When you add this to the rear drive layout, then it’s easy to believe that the BMW Concept ActiveE ” … has everything it requires to provide the dynamic driving properties and agile handling in the style of the BMW 1 Series,” as BMW says.
Performance-wise, the little EV should scoot from zero to 100 km/h (62mph) in less than 9 seconds, and tops out at an electronically limited to 145 km/h (90 mph). BMW says that the “real-world range” should be about 160 km / 100 miles on a single charge, depending on conditions.
And speaking of charging, keeping the lithium-ion battery pack topped up is handled via conventional power outlets at public charging stations or at a special wall box at home. In Europe, the battery pack can be fully charged at a 50 ampere high-current power outlet in as little as 3 hours. And in North America, using a 32 ampere continuous high-current residential wall box, the charge time is around 4.5 hours.
The ActiveE is just a concept, says BMW, but I wouldn’t be too surprised to see this one on the road soon.