Geneva Auto Show: BMW ActiveE

BMW has been kicking around its ActiveE electric vehicle concept, based upon the current 1 Series Coupe, for a bit now. It is now bringing it to the 2011 Geneva Motor Show in what the German automaker is billing as “the world premier” of this electric vehicle. Does this actually mean plans exist to bring it to market? Sort of.

First the details of the vehicle for those not familiar with it. The BMW ActiveE, with its room for four passengers and full electric drivetrain, sports an electric synchronous motor which propels the car from zero to 60mph in just nine seconds, delivering 168hp and maximum torque of 250Nm, from a standing start.  Top speed is electronically limited to 90mph, which we hope BMW removes before the final production model hits showrooms.

BMW ActiveE

image via BMW

BMW, for the ActiveE, has replaced the engine block, transmission and fuel tank are three large energy storage units containing lithium-ion cells, developed in conjunction with SB LiMotive.   These modules are protected by what BMW says is a steel-plate battery housing with integrated liquid cooling system, to keep the batteries at optimum operating temperature and reportedly helping to increase the range.

The ActiveE, by European standards, can be charged using either 32-ampere wallbox in five hours, or overnight from a conventional domestic socket. It has a variety of comfort features typical of the BMW brand and also sports a feature whereby when “the driver takes his foot off the accelerator pedal the motor becomes a generator and feeds the electricity created from kinetic energy back into the vehicle battery, while at the same time braking torque is created, slowing the vehicle down.  This recuperation of energy can increase the range of 100 miles by up to 20 per cent.”

As for release plans, BMW’s current plan sees the ActiveE this year in trials in USA, Europe and China. A final production version of something related to this vehicle is slated for 2013.

I am the editor-in-chief and founder for EarthTechling. This site is my desire to bring the world of green technology to consumers in a timely and informative matter. Prior to this my previous ventures have included a strong freelance writing career and time spent at Silicon Valley start ups.