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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The queue starts for 700 BMW Active E leases [video]

BMW is about to launch another electric-vehicle field test, this time a two-year lease on the Active E, an electrified version of the two-door BMW 1 Series coupe. BMW claims the Active E has a 100-mile range and will lease the EV for $499 per month, plus a $2,250 down payment. BMW also requires a home charging station from its partner AeroViroment..

The first such trial was for the electric Mini Cooper, the Mini E, which leased for $850 per month. Those Minis provided key development information and most have since been returned to BMW.

The Active E lease will be available for a limited number of customers in the metropolitan areas surrounding Boston, Hartford, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, San Diego, and Sacramento.

The Active E has a 6.6-kWh onboard charger, which facilitates faster charging than most other EVs. Charge times are said to be four to five hours.

We found the conventional 1 Series a thoroughly fun-to-drive car with terrific handling and body control. The instant torque from the electric drive may add to the fun factor. Unlike the Mini E, the 1 doesn’t sacrifice its rear seat to make room for the drive battery.

For BMW, the Active E field trial will supply valuable customer feedback that should influence BMW’s upcoming dedicated electric line that includes the i3 and i8, both shown around the auto-show circuit in concept-car form. The i3 will use exactly the same hardware as the Active E when it debuts in 2013. Deliveries of the Active E begin in early 2012.

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