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September 24, 2010

BMW ActiveE electric car - Consumer field trials to begin next summer

Having concluded its year-long Mini E trial by consumers, BMW has announced the available markets for its next electric vehicle pilot, the ActiveE. In addition to the Los Angeles and New York City markets, where the Mini E was available, the Active-E will be available in San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, and Boston, and select markets in Connecticut (presumably in the New York City suburbs), the company announced yesterday at the Opportunity Green Business Conference in Los Angeles.

The ActiveE aims to address practical shortcomings that Mini E "pioneers" complained about: a lack of cargo space and seating for only two. Based on a BMW 1 Series coupe, the ActiveE offers seating for four and seven cubic feet of cargo space. Like the Mini E, the ActiveE will have a range of 100 miles from its lithium-ion battery pack.

The ActiveE is expected to be available for lease starting in summer 2011 as part of a "field trial." (The Mini E lease was a staggering $850 a month.) The company did not announce when the ActiveE program would be open for applications. After this field trial, BMW plans to produce its first in-house electric vehicle, the carbon-fiber hatchback Mega City EV by 2014. (Read: "Automaker execs draw road map for electric cars.")

BMW is preparing to join the wave of other automakers selling electric cars in the near future, including Nissan, Ford, and Mitsubishi. We look forward to continuing to test as many of these vehicles as we can, especially now that we have four Level 2 chargers installed at our Auto Test Center.

What's it like to live with an electric car every day? Read a staffer's account of his year with the Mini E (available to online subscribers).

See our guide to fuel economy for advice on saving gasoline. Learn about future technologies in our guide to alternative fuels.

Eric Evarts


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