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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Final ActiveE Meet: Pizza, Salad and BMW i3's

We've had an unusually cold spring so far here in New Jersey. I've wanted to host a final ActiveE meet for a few weeks now but the cold temperatures concerned me. There would be a few people coming from good distances and the reduced range because of the cold might be an issue so I had been holding off for a while.

Once I saw we would have consistent temperatures in the 60's I announced the meet on the ActiveE Facebook group page. Coincidentally, the day of the meet happened to be the day that the BEV i3's were released from the ports and shipped to the dealers here in the US, giving us even more to talk about.We ended up having eight ActiveE drivers come (even though two had to take other cars for various reasons).

The Thwaite's i3 is ready to go!
As usual we hung out in the parking lot for a while, talked about not wanting to let go of our ActiveE's but that we were indeed excited about getting our i3's. Michael and Pamela Thwaite got the good news from client adviser Manny Antunes of JMK BMW (who came to the meet also to answer any i3 questions we had) that their i3 arrived at his dealership that afternoon and would be ready for delivery on Saturday. Needless to say, the rest of the group was then officially jealous!

Pizza, salad, friends and talking EV. What could be better?
Electronaut Edition badge
Everyone at the meet has an i3 on order. BMW hasn't released the official ActiveE conversion rate but I've heard from some people in the know say it's somewhere north of 60% which is pretty good. Our small sample was 100% so I figure 60% to 65% may be pretty close. Of course that was how many Electronauts reserved an i3. We still have to option of declining the car when it comes in. Since we had to order the car without knowing exactly what it would cost us and what the Electronaut Edition i3 was we couldn't be bound to the order. I suspect a few will cancel for various reasons, but the number will likely end up very close to 60%, over or under.

With the cars arriving at dealers every day, and ships carrying them docking at the ports every few days, the ActiveE's days are numbered. My rental agreement ends on June 30th which should be pretty close to when I get my i3. My car is currently on the Fedora vehicle carrier ship, and is due at the port in NJ on May 15th. I figure about 5 or 6 days later I'll be picking it up from JMK BMW so I'll have about a week with both cars. Just enough time to conduct some road comparison tests and take a bunch of pictures of them together as I did with my MINI-E and ActiveE.
Hanging out and talking EV. We even had a Zero electric motorcycle join in!

It's been an incredible 5 year journey in BMW's trial leasing e-mobility programs. In a way I'm sad it's over but I an definitely happy to see that the participation from me and the others has delivered a revolutionary vehicle. It's the most efficient car sold in America and BMW uses manufacturing processes and materials not used by any other automobile manufacturer. No volume production car has ever been made with such a high emphasis on sustainability and I do expect other manufacturers are now going to follow BMW's lead.

i3 Monroney label: 81 miles per charge
BMW has indeed stepped into the future with the i3. That being said, it's not perfect. I think the biggest complaint is that many of us are not thrilled with the electric range it has. It was EPA rated at 81 miles per charge which is 14% less than the ActiveE's 94 (which was about 14% less than the MINI-E). I really didn't want to get the range extender, but felt the range was so much less than both the MINI-E and ActiveE that I have no choice but to add the oil burner. I'll do another post here (likely the final post on this blog) and offer more thoughts on this though, as well as where I'd like to see BMW take the i brand.