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Monday, May 7, 2012

ActiveE Personalization Begins!

The no oil and no gas symbols, the word "electric" and the license plate frame now distinguish the rear of my ActiveE from the others.
Now that just about everyone that's getting an ActiveE has taken delivery of it, people are starting to customize their cars to distinguish theirs from the rest. All of the cars come exactly the same so many people want to make a personal statement, or in some cases, just blend in with the rest of the cars on the road.

No stickers & custom wheels
Some ActiveE lessees decided to remove all the circuitry graphics, leaving only the small eDrive badges on the sides to distinguish the car from any other white BMW 1 series. You'd have to be pretty observant to realize the car has no tailpipe or recognize the hood bulge that is only found on the ActiveE to realize that the car is special. I think most people that see an ActiveE like this might think it's just a 135i with an aftermarket or M-series hood.

Some stickers removed
Others have removed some of the graphics while leaving some. A popular combination I've seen is removing all the side graphics except the word "ActiveE" and leaving all the graphics on the hood, roof and trunk. I've seen some of the cars that do this and I think I does look pretty good, however the ActiveE graphic looks a little too big there by itself without any circuitry graphics near it.

Still others have gone in a different direction and added thinks like chrome badges, stickers, magnets, bike racks and even interior customization like armrests. I decided to remove a few of the circuitry graphs, not many, but just enough to add some other personalization graphics in their place. I want everyone that looks at the car to know instantly that it's electric. I hired a professional pinstriper to paint a couple small plugs on the side coming off the eDrive badges and on the roof antenna 'fin'. The more attention the better!

My MINI-E No Oil & No Gas magnets
I also had him paint the "No Oil" and 'No Gas' graphics that I had displayed on my MINI-E, but they were magnets. It was always a pain to take them off before going through car washes and I even had someone steal one off the car once when it was parked in a parking lot. Then, after removing the circuitry graphics on the left side of the trunk lid, I had him paint the word 'Electric' to match the 'ActiveE' sticker on the other side of the trunk. He used the same font and colors as the stickers and if you didn't know one was painted and the other a sticker you would never know the difference.

As a final touch, just for added flair, I ordered a chrome license plate frame that says "My other car funds international terrorism" My wife's not so keen on this though. She told me she would have preferred if it said "This car doesn't fund international terrorism". I guess she has a point since she usually drives the 'other car' which kind of makes her the terrorist supporter of the family. OK, maybe I went a bit too far this time but I never said I was perfect.

What have you done with your ActiveE or what would you have done if you had one? Please comments below, I'd like to know!

PLEASE NOTE: If you have an ActiveE and want to custom paint it like I did, be prepared to pay to have it removed or repainted at the end of the lease if BMW requires it. I don't think custom painting is really an allowed modification. If I have to I'll have it removed before I turn it in. I just don't want anyone getting in trouble because they did what I did. For the record, I didn't get permission, I was afraid they'd have said no!


  1. Very nice! Not sure what I'd do, but I love how you've personalized yours Tom. The plugs look really nice

  2. I really like what you've done but the clean look without the stickers looks good also. I guess it depends if you want the attention or not and if you want people to ask you about the car or not. I assume you like to talk about it or you wouldn't have made it so distinct.
    What is the difference in range between city and highway driving?

  3. Love the no oil/no gas graphics ;)

  4. Tom you wrote about not wanting to share the car with your wife. Could it be you bought the license plate frame to keep her from driving it? If so you're an evil man ;)

  5. If all 699 of you customize/personalize your Active E, than mine in its original state will be personalized - LOL - Does anyone know where I can get a roof size sticker that looks like a solar panel? A little help, Mr. SunGas (Peder).

  6. Better would be that is a solar panel not that looks like one.