Reading the ActiveE's owners manual I came across something interesting on page 50, the "Launch Mode".
However it was not to be.
Nope. When I released the friction brake the car behaved pretty much the same as it usually does. Don't get me wrong, the ActiveE does have a lot of torque and (especially in low speeds) is a lot of fun to drive as it offers plenty of power to have fun. It's just that when you include a feature that's called "launch mode" and it lights up a checkered flag icon, I think it's reasonable to assume you're ready for the races, and it just isn't so.
Just like the MINI-E, BMW has tuned down the torque available from a standstill and at very low speeds. This is because the car, with its 184 lb/ft of torque would spin the tires like crazy if they didn't do that and it would also put a tremendous amount of stress on the gearbox. For this reason, you don't get 100% of the car's power until you are going about 10mph. I had hoped that the launch mode would make all of the power available from a standstill, too bad it doesn't. Perhaps because this is a test car and it's BMW's responsibility to maintain and repair them they won't let us do a "proper launch". For what it's worth, I'd like to see the launch mode on the i3 put 100% of the power to the rear wheels from a standstill. Otherwise like the ActiveE, all we'll have is a "failure to launch".