|The odometer rolled past 5k about seven weeks after I took delivery|
Pre-conditioning. I love preconditioning! The MINI-E was desperately lacking this feature. I work long hours and my car is outside in a parking lot all day. I drive home late at night when the restaurant closes, and during the winter months, my car is usually a frozen brick when I get in it. The MINI-E would take about a half hour to get the cabin comfortably warm under these conditions, and would use a lot of energy from the battery to do so. With the ActiveE, I simply set the pre-conditioning feature to turn on about a half hour before I leave, and when I get in the car it's toasty warm inside AND the battery is warm which helps to extend the car's range. Honestly after having this feature, I couldn't ever buy another EV that doesn't have the ability to pre-condition.
Eco-Pro mode. I find myself driving in Eco Pro mode just about all of the time now. If I need a quick burst of power, I just deactivate it for the time being and then reactivate it. It extends the car's range by about 10-15% and in my opinion it doesn't compromise the car's fun to drive factor as there is still plenty of power. There are two things that need to be *fixed* about Eco Pro though, see them later under "weaknesses".
It's a BMW. I'm not all into the status of driving a luxury brand so that's not what I'm talking about. Maybe years ago that meant something to me, but it doesn't anymore. I really don't care if it says BMW or Kia on the hood. I'm interested in how the car drives, how comfortable it is, how efficient it is, and the level of quality that went into building it. BMW has a reputation of delivering on all of these qualities and this being my first BMW, I'm not at all disappointed. It's pretty much what I would expect from a luxury brand, everything feels top notch. It really feels rock solid, something my wife still talks about every time she drives it. It's extremely quiet inside, even for an electric car and that's saying a lot. The fit and finish of the interior is great, the seats are very comfortable and the BMW Connect drive offers useful amenities.
It's heavy! The ActiveE, being a converted internal combustion engine car is really heavy. That's partially because BMW needed to add a lot of steel to reinforce the frame to retain its crash-worthiness. When you remove the car's gas engine it weakens the car because the engine is this huge mass of metal that will absorb energy in the case of a front end impact. Plus, the three battery blocks needed to be protected so there is more steel reinforcement. Then add the weight of the 32kWh battery pack and this small coupe is suddenly 4,000lbs! That's just too heavy for a car of this size and the efficiency suffers from it. Having to lug around 4,000lbs plus passengers gets the better of the car and so far I'm averaging about 3.1 miles per kWh used. Plus, when you push the car hard in corners, you can feel the weight - and not in a good way. On the flip side when you aren't driving it hard, the weight makes it feel incredibly stable and rock-solid. Because of this feeling I've called it an "electronic tank". When the i3 comes out late next year, I expect it to be at the top of the efficiency chart when compared to other EV's. It will weigh about 1,250 lbs less than the ActiveE and have the same motor and electronics. This should help to boost its consumption to around 5 miles per kWh.
Overall the car has been pretty much everything I had hoped it would be. It's fun to drive, very comfortable and I can charge it with the sunlight that reigns down on my roof. What's gas cost these days anyway? I couldn't care less!