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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

New ActiveE For National Plug in Day

My "new" ActiveE
Shortly after I had my accident BMW let me know they would find a way to get me another ActiveE for the remainder of the trial lease period, which will coincide with the release of the BMW i3. The timing worked out perfectly because the BMW i program managers will soon begin getting i3 company cars to drive so they had an ActiveE they could spare. We were able to get everything worked out just in time so I could bring my new-used ActiveE to National Plug in Day.

My "new" ActiveE had only 5,900 miles on it and compared to my old car which had over 53,000 miles and it feels like a brand new car. It's still early, but my measurements so far indicate it still has 27kWh's usable for me which would be expected with such low mileage and use. My old ActiveE with 53K and having been charged 1,325 times only had about 25kWh's available, having lost about 8% of its original capacity. So I'm good for a few more miles per charge now and that's not a bad thing!

We had 4 or 5 LEAF's show up
This weekend I brought it to the North Jersey National Plug in Day event held at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ. It was a great place for the event and kudos goes out to Michael and Pamela Thwaite for scouting the location and getting permission to have it there. The Liberty Science Center recently installed solar canopies over most of their parking lot and also installed twelve electric vehicle chargers, making this a prime location for such an event.

This is the third annual National Plug in Day and it was so great to see how far we've come in only three years. The first NPID was held in 2011 and there were only a few events held in mostly the big cities in the country. I was at the one in New York City, since there were none in New Jersey that I knew of. There were a few Volts, one LEAF, a Tesla, my MINI-E and a plug in Prius in attendance that day back in 2011. This year there were over 95 events, with thousands of cars on display across the country. At our event we had about 25 EV's including a few Model S's, a Tesla Roadster, a few ActiveE's, a few LEAF's, a couple Honda Fit Ev's, Volts, Ford Focus EV's, a smart Electric Drive, a Ford C-Max Energi plug-in, a Plug in Prius, a Rav4 EV, an iMiEV and a Zero electric motorcycle.

One of the only RAV4 EV's in NJ
We were there most of the day, talked to many of the visitors coming to the Science Center and even gave out some test rides. What is so encouraging to me is how the attitude of the public is beginning to change. A few years ago people looked at me with great hesitation when I would tell them my car is 100% electric. I could tell they were thinking I must be some kind of weirdo or extreme environmentalist, but that perception is changing. As more and more electric vehicles are becoming available and more people see them on the roads and parked in their neighbors driveways they are slowly becoming "normal". Sure it will be a long, slow process to get the majority of the public ready to embrace ditching their oil burner for an electric vehicle, but the tide is definitely turning. I can clearly see that in how people approach me with questions or comments about EV's now. They are much more open to discussing them and they look genuinely interested and ask questions. Back in 2009 or 2010 when I had my MINI-E on display and would talk to people about it, many people looked at electric vehicles as almost like a science project, and something perhaps for the distant future. Now many people are asking me about them because they see one in their future, and that's awesome. Yes, it's really happening!


  1. So awesome to see you back in an ActiveE!! Glad BMW could work something out. You said you saw a Tesla S at the event - how does it compare to the BMW in your opinion?

    1. I've driven about a dozen Model S's Luke and I had one for an entire afternoon so I'm very familiar with it.

      It's hard and not really fair to compare them. The ActiveE is a converted gas car that was made for this test program, it was not intended for series production and they will not make any more of them.

      That being said, the Model S is a much more complete electric vehicle, as well it should be (and needed to be) since it's made for volume production and retail customers and is for sale, unlike the ActiveE. The Model S is faster, charges quicker, has more options and much more interior room and luggage space. It's really a fantastic car.

      The only negatives in my opinion is it's very expensive - the least expensive model starts at over $71,000 and the fit and finish isn't close to the ActiveE's or what you would get from the other luxury automakers, particularly the interior. However it's a fantastic car and done remarkably well especially when you consider it's Tesla's first car designed and built entirely in house.

  2. Perhaps it's time to go after the "single day" record as well... Make sure to do it before the latest PUMA hobbles the charge rate as it has to most of us!

    1. This one came with the reduced rate Dennis. No chance to bet the record charging at 5.4kW.

  3. That's too bad... Between that and Blink reducing he rate to 3.3kW. It's taking forever to get anywhere...

    At least you get a practically full pack. I barely am able to get 80 nowadays. (I don't keep meticulous records, that's up to you) ;-)

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