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Monday, April 8, 2013

One Year ActiveE Anniversary Marked By Meet-Up's On Both Coasts

I hosted the East Coast meet at my restaurant in Montclair, NJ
To mark the one year (and midway point) of the ActiveE field trial, meets were organized on both the East and West Coast on Sunday, April 7th, by some of the Electronauts. Here on the East I put together the event and out in California a few people including Jack Brown, Andre Deocares-Lengyel and Mariel Knoll did so. The East Coasters met at my restaurant in Montclair, New Jersey and out West they met at the Blue Skye Coastal Cafe. California is such a big state it's really difficult to have only one meet and allow for everybody to make it. On the East most people could get to my place on a single charge, except really for the Electronauts in Massachusetts and Connecticut. I did have someone come from Connecticut which was a 312 mile round trip and as always Don Young made the trip from Shelter Island, NY which is about a 140 miles each way. I appreciate everyone who came, but especially those who drove hundreds of miles and had to stop along the way for hours to recharge just so they could be here.

The ActiveE cake!
We had 15 ActiveEs come, as well as a brand new Model S, a Honda Fit EV, a Tesla Roadster, a Mitsubishi iMiEV and a Zero electric motorcycle. The weather cooperated and was clear and even made it up to 60 degrees which is actually cool for this time of the year, but lately we have had much colder than normal weather so 60 degrees was definitely a win for us. I ordered a custom cake that was made in the shape of an ActiveE and it was a big hit. We met for about two and a half hours and talked amongst ourselves as well as to curious onlookers who stopped by to check out the cars.

We even had three representatives from BMW's ActiveE technical team come and join in. BMW always sends representatives when we host these meets and it's really appreciated. While they can't offer privileged technical information, they are able to answer questions about service related problems and such. At one point they even pulled out a computer and hooked up to one of the cars to download information saving the owner a trip to his dealer which made his day. This kind of participation is really great.

The West Coasters: Photo by Joel Bartlett
Out on the West Coast they met for brunch and some good photo-ops before heading out. Most of the people who went had traveled well over a hundred miles so they had to make stops along the way to charge. At least one dedicated Electronaut drove about 500 miles for the round trip and had to leave the day before just to make it. That just proves California is just too big and we really need to chop it up into three states! ;)

One thing that was said frequently was how it's hard to believe the program is already half over and many don't want to think about giving up their ActiveEs. This all sounds too familiar to me. I can remember lamenting over the thought of giving up my beloved MINI-E but then the ActiveE came along and helped take the edge off turning it in. Will the i3 offer that same relief? I suspect for me it will but many of the others at the meet aren't 100% convinced yet. The non-traditional BMW styling and the lack of much information on the car even as the launch is less than a year away has many Electonauts wondering what their next move will be. I think if the i3 does deliver the same or better range as the ActiveE (94 EPA range rating) then many will transition from the ActiveE right into the i3, but the range is on everybody's mind now. The fact that the battery is so much smaller than what we have in the ActiveE has many concerned, even though it's a much lighter car. On a day like today when people were driving long distances to get together the need for range and a robust infrastructure really stands out.

The ActiveE East Coast team


  1. Looks like fun. Love the cake Tom!

  2. Nice write-up and great events. Happy anniversary!

  3. Thanks for your assistance in confirming that I missed the West Coast group Tom. Apparently they changed the time and I didn't get the note.

    It would've been a 3 charge trip for me each way in the ActiveE and ICEd it there. Perhaps I should just fly to EWR and get over to Montclair for the next meet up instead! Definitely more reliable. Plus they got CAKE!

    1. Hey Dennis, the people that did go felt really bad you missed it. It's easy for us to sometime assume that 'everybody' is on Facebook, which of course isn't true. They did post how bad they felt that you weren't notified of the change in time.

      Of course you're always welcome to come to my meet-ups! ;)

    2. I was disappointed that I did not meet some of the fellow Electronuts, but it was a beautiful day of driving. Even ICE driving.

      Before I joined the rEVolution, I used to drive a lot... Wait a minute, I STILL drive a lot.

      The dangers of not having FB, I'm just glad I got you to track them down for me and let me know what I suspected.

    3. Dennis, I'm very sorry to hear this. Tom PM'd me the other day, but I didn't check Facebook messages in time to be of any help. I'm going to send you a PM through BMW forum with some information to help prevent a similar situation in the future.

  4. Hi Tom,

    Are there any Active E owners that you know of in Maryland?


  5. Hi emoll:

    No there are no ActiveE's in Maryland. The ActiveE program is a field trial for BMW and the cars were only available in select markets in California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts. There were only 700 ActiveE's available for the US field trial. The components in the ActiveE are being tested for use in the 2014 BMW i3 which will be available for sale everywhere later this year. You can click on the link above for information on the i3 if you are interested.