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Monday, November 22, 2010

What Electronics Does the ActiveE Have in Store?

Images have been leaking out that show some detail on what the ActiveE information screens will look like as well as what features the driver will be able to control remotely through smartphone connectivity. 

The MINI-E's that are on the road now really don't have anything remotely similar to the features that will be in the ActiveE or eventually the Megacity car.  It is really just a MINI Cooper that has retrofitted with an electronic drivetrain. The instrumentation is basic MINI with very little changes to actually reveal that the car is indeed electric. Other than the charge meter where the tachometer usually and the ability to toggle a button on the blinker lever to reveal a small amount of information about the car, you would never know that it is an electric car.

That will change with the ActiveE as BMW has had time to properly engineer this car so that is has all the bells and whistles that you would want in such an advanced vehicle. While BMW hasn't announced the features that the car will have, these pictures should give you an idea of what they are planning.  The ability to program the car to precondition the cabin and battery temperature while still plugged into the grid will be a welcome feature. Also from the pictures it seems that you will be able to lookup directions to charge stations on your smartphone and send them to your ActiveE. You will see if the charger is currently in use or available, what level charging is there and how to get there.

I'll be pressing BMW to release more information about the cars capabilities and hopefully have some more information soon.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

BMW to Invest $740 Million To Build Megacity and Future Electric Cars

BMW recently announced it will invest $560 million over the next three years at its production facility in Leipzig to build a variety of new electric vehicles, including the ActiveE, and then the Megacity and Vision supercar in 2013, plus another $180 million to make EV components and materials.

During the past year and a half that I have been in the MINI-E program, I have displayed the car and many "Green Car Expo's" and I have spoken at various events that promote green transportation. I have frequently come across people that say to me that BMW isn't committed to electric cars. That they only built the MINI-E to satisfy the California Air Resources Boards requirements and have no intention on really building and selling electric cars. Even after BMW announced the Megacity vehicle I would still be met with doubters that would say they will make them in low production numbers, just enough to be a halo car for BMW. I often debated their position and explained that BMW was sincere, and that they are moving methodically to make sure they get it right.

Now after the recent announcement that they will be investing nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars to build electric cars is there any doubt that they are committed to electric cars? I'm sure there will be some that continue to question it, but in my opinion, any reasonable person has to be convinced that BMW is serious about not only making electric cars, but being the world leader at it.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

BMW Vision Efficient Dynamics Gets the Green Light!

I know this is a BMW ActiveE site, but this news is too good not to report. The Megacity isn't the only plug in car that BMW will be offering in 2013. BMW just announced the above pictured prototype called the Vision Efficient Dynamics will also be available for sale in 2013!

I'm sure there will be some changes from the above pictures prototype, but the car will be basically the same mid-engined plug-in hybrid supercar when it goes into production and that is really awesome. Now obviously this will not be a car that the average Joe will be able to afford. Hell, I'm probably much better off financially than the average Joe and I can't even think of shelling out the estimated $150,000 it's going to cost, but that's not going to stop me from wanting one. Anyway, I figure maybe, just maybe BMW might want to give me one. Yes, that's right, I said GIVE me one. Let me explain.

By 2013 when it will be available, I'll have spent over four years in the MINI-E and ActiveE programs, providing BMW with lot of information and valuable data, but that's not nearly all. I have also been blogging about their e-mobility programs, speaking at many green car expo's and doing everything I can to promote the MINI-E and ActiveE programs. I've spent days at a time shooting videos for BMW, doing photo shoots and speaking to dozens of newspaper, magazine and online journalists about BMW's commitment to sustainability and their electric car future.

So I figure by the time the car is available, I'll have spent 50 months driving and promoting their brand. That's roughly 1,500 days. So now if the car costs $150,000 and they were gracious enough to GIVE me one, that would be like paying me $100 per day for the entire time I've been "working" for them. Geez, when I put it that way it doesn't sound so crazy after all..... I bet it would look great in my garage parked next to my shiny new Megacity. Both cars charging with the electricity I produce with my solar PV system, now that's a garage of the future! Anyone over there in Munich think this is a good idea and wants to make me really happy? I guess you know where to find me if you agree and oh yeah, I'll take mine in black, please. ; )

For more details on the car, follow this link.
 Update: I just uploaded this video of the car

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ulrich Kranz Talks about the ActiveE

Ulrich Kranz, head of BMW Project i, and Peter Ratz, head of development for Project i, discusses the upcoming ActiveE. I can't seem to get the video to be the proper size so double click on it and it will take you to the video on YouTube and you will be able to view the entire screen. There is a lot of ActiveE information here so watch all the videos. It starts out kind of slow, but then focuses on a lot of technical information towards the end. There is more ActiveE information in these three videos than I have seen anywhere. Have fun!

Below is part two of the video series:

And part three: