Tuesday, October 26, 2010
The BMW ActiveE Addresses The Three Main Shortcomings The MINI-E Proved To Have
Part of the being in the MINI-E program has been providing feedback to BMW about the likes and dislikes of the car. The three biggest complaints that were reported by the MINI-E "pioneers" were: 1) The fact the the battery takes up the entire back seat area so the car is only a two seater and thus is limiting. 2) The battery is so big, it even swallows up most of the hatchback storage space so you can't fit much stuff in the car. 3) the lack of a sophisticated thermal management system. This, in my opinion is the really the biggest flaw the MINI-E has.
Here in New Jersey we get both very hot summers and really cold winters so the it has been a really good test area for the thermal management system of the car. The California Trial Lease participants didn't have to deal with the extreme cold we had to on the East Coast, but those of us here on the East know how much impact the cold had on the MINI-E's battery. The MINI-E's passive system is nothing more than a fan that blows cabin air over the battery pack. It does work fine when temperatures are between 40 degrees and 90 degrees, but the extreme temperatures proved to be more than this simple passive layout can handle so BMW has designed a liquid based, active thermal management system that should alleviate the problems we had in these extreme temperatures.
There are a lot of reasons why I can't wait to get my hands on an ActiveE, but testing how well the temperature management system is at the top of the list. The other issues of no back seat and the need for more storage space have also been solved, as the ActiveE seats four and has a conventional trunk for storage.