From the start of 2012 until quite recently, BMW had an innovative idea: it built and leased a thousand or so of its newly developed ActiveE electric cars, based on the coupe 1 Series chassis, to private citizens. Those drivers would basically be long-term test drivers, with telemetrics giving BMW an idea of how EVs work in the real world. That lease expired a few months ago, and with the test complete, BMW recycled the cars -- and former owners aren't happy.
Image from Facebook via Jalopnik
The BMW ActiveE
is was the precursor to the i3 -- the $60,000+, 125kW all-electric hatchback with 190km of range and a 22kWh lithium battery. The ActiveE had broadly similar specs; a larger 32kWh battery drove the same 125kW motor to the same top speed and nearly identical 0-100 speeds, since the ActiveE was slightly heavier.
Transport Evolved, an unashamedly pro-electric news site, reports that BMW has crushed many of the ActiveE cars returned from lease. This wasn't unexpected, but it's a kick in the guts for ActiveE drivers who grew to love their low-cost, no-emissions electric cars over their two-year lease periods.
Image via Wikipedia
Many ActiveE lessees have upgraded to a special Electronaut edition i3, and California residents can still drive the cars that have been given a new lease of life in its DriveNow car-sharing fleet. But seeing your old car sitting on the back of a flatbed headed to the wrecking yard must still be hard.
BMW is, of course, entitled to do whatever it wants with the cars, and it never pretended that the ActiveE project was anything other than an extended test drive -- in exactly the same way as the Mini E in 2010. But shuttling the cars past former devotees, stripped of electronics and compacted into neat cuboids, maybe wasn't the best idea. [Transport Evolved via Jalopnik]