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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Deuces Wild

It took me 225 days to hit 22,222.2 miles on the odometer so I'm just shy of averaging 100 miles per day. However if you factor in that the car has been in for service about 10 days, I went on vacation and there were a couple days that I just didn't drive it, I'm really averaging about 110 miles for every day I actually drove the car. That's a lot of driving and a lot of plugging in for an electric car with an EPA rating of 94 miles per charge. If you add it to the 73,531 miles I put on my MINI-E, I've now driven 94,753 all electric miles since entering BMW's electric vehicle program in 2009. Sometime in October I'll pass the 100,000 all-electric miles mark and I'm thinking that's an exclusive club to be in!

The BMW i3 launches next year
The ActiveE has been pretty much everything I expected it to be. It's a very competent, capable electric vehicle that has decent power and handles remarkably well for a 4,000lb car. Granted it's not quite as fast or as nimble as its gasoline 1 series counterparts, but all things considered it performs very well. It's comfortable to drive and the cabin is exceptionally quiet, even for an EV.  I really can't wait to see how this powertrain performs in the BMW i3 when they launch it next year. It will have the same motor and electronics as the ActiveE, with the same 184lb-ft of torque and 170hp, yet it will weigh about 1,300lbs less. That should make the i3 driving experience much better.

I've charged my ActiveE 482 times and have averaged 92.41 miles per charge with an average consumption rate of 3.37mi/kWh. My miles-per-charge is calculated by using the amount of energy used, the miles driven and the battery's state of charge when I plug back in, I don't use the car's 'estimated remaining range,' as my method is much more accurate. I record this data every time I plug in so I now have 482 journal entries that have spanned from the cold January nights to the hot July afternoons. The lowest two-week average driving range was in January and I averaged 80 miles per charge. The highest two-week average was 99 miles per charge which happened in June when it was warm, but not too hot that I needed to use the air conditioning. Since the end of June I have left the A/C on constantly, and doing so seems to have shaved about 6 miles per charge off my range.

I still get stopped all the time and asked about the car, this hasn't changed from way back in my MINI-E days. The difference I am finding is that many people now are a bit more educated about electric vehicles. In the past people looked at me like I had two heads when I told them my car was 100% electric and not a hybrid. Now they are generally less surprised and some even know a lot about electrics, and that wasn't the case at all only a year or two ago. For instance last night a woman saw my car charging in the parking lot of my restaurant and asked me about it. I was surprised that she said she heard that electric cars were going to have to make artificial noise at low speeds (vehicle pedestrian alerts) because they are so quiet. She also knew about DC quick charge and that there is currently a bit of a dispute over which plug the quick charge will use (CHAdeMO which is the Japanese standard vs. the SAE combo plug which will soon be formally adopted as the North American standard). Conversations like this were non existent only a few months ago for all but the most hardened EV supporters. The fact that regular people who I come across in every day life know about this stuff is very promising, because to me it means they are interested in EVs, or they wouldn't have bothered to read about and understand these things.

Even though the ActiveE is a converted gas car and compromises were made, it's still a great daily driver. I've driven gasoline 1 series BMW cars and while I did enjoy them also, I wouldn't trade them for the ActiveE. That's saying a lot because the 1 series platform was not designed to be an electric car. BMW had to chop it apart and retro fit the electric drivetrain and battery system and it's STILL a great car. Many of the people leasing them already are beginning to beat the "Let us buy our ActiveE" drums, just like the MINI-E pioneers did. That's not going to happen though, and we will have to return them when our 24 month lease is up. All I can say to those who feel that way is wait and see what the production i3 has to offer first. I loved my MINI-E and when I had it I couldn't imagine the ActiveE would be better but it really is a much more complete, refined electric car. From what I'm told the i3 will be an even bigger upgrade from the ActiveE than the ActiveE was from the MINI-E. That's going to be tough to accomplish, but I'm anxiously waiting to see. For now I'll keep on racking up the miles and enjoying the ride!

2 Good 2 Be True?

225 days to drive 22,222.2 miles.
I've plugged in 482 times.
I've averaged  92.41 miles per charge.
It's cost me roughly $1,200 in electric to power my car 22,222.2 miles. If I had a gas BMW 1 series(128i) it would have cost me roughly $4,200 in gas to drive the same amount of miles. A $3,000 savings in 7 months!
The car has a 32 kWh battery pack.
I've run out of charge 2 times so far and needed to plug into a 120v outlet for a while just to make it home.
I installed 2 public chargers in my restaurant's parking lot so patrons to charge up.
I've averaged 46.2 miles driven between plugging in.
72: The amount of times I would have had to stop for gas if I were driving a BMW 128i
The ActiveE has 2 more seats than the MINI-E did.
The BMW i3 will weigh 2,756lbs which is 1,245lbs less than the ActiveE.
The i3 launches in 12 months...
I recently had the ActiveE on display and handed out BMW i brochures at a Green transportation Expo in Jersey City.


  1. 36,000 miles per year? That's crazy you need to move closer to your job.

  2. Anon, he's got a great house and a great business, I doubt he'll be changing either one :) I think his miles are a result of having to drive around for his "job", not just commuting.

    Tom, nice job on resetting the trip odometer at just the right time so that you hit 222.2 simultaneously!

    After two years of my Volt ownership, I'm starting to settle into just enjoying the car and less EVangelism. Of course I don't have fancy graphics on my car or a prominent charging station, so it's easier for me to quietly back off. I'm still looking forward to my next car, which will definitely be another EV, but I starting to pivot away to other pursuits. Up next: solar PV array on the house!

  3. Awesome defined Tom!!! Way to go!

  4. Anonymous: My commute takes me 45 minutes each way. I know people that live 15 miles from their job and it takes then 45 minutes also. As Chris said below I also use the car at work every day to run errands.

    Chris C: Thanks for the compliments. Yes, I now think ahead when an odometer milestone is approaching so I can reset the trip odo for a better picture ;) By the way, just driving your volt is advocating enough. People need to see these cars on the roads as much as they need to read about them! Go for the solar!

    Chris: Thanks buddy!

  5. I think you are correct in saying that the i3 will be a huge step forward in technology compared to the Active E. while I would love to keep my E forever, I bet I'll change my view after my first i3 test drive.

    Great numbers and info, Tom. I've learned a lot about the EV world from you. Thanks for paving the way and making it easier for those of us who follow.

  6. Thank you Keith. You are also a pioneer here, and are influencing others. Driving your AE, talking to people about it and blogging you are reaching people and helping to make EV's seem less foreign to others that haven't had the opportunity to drive one. It's going to take a collective effort from folks like you and me to help dispel the myths and misinformation that is prevalent regarding electric vehicles. It's going to be long uphill battle but we will get there!

  7. I'm an ocassional EV driver, but i enjoy every minute that i spend behind the wheel. Looking forward to drive the i3. Thank you Tom for being a true person about this E82e and for exposing all the pros and cons about this BMW electrification adventure comparing with the ICE vehicles.