Sunday, February 12, 2012

The BMW ActiveE Comes Out To Play

The BMW Active E has far more functionality than just a city commuter car.   While true that on Monday through Friday the ActiveE takes you from your home to your work place and  back again in super quiet, great style with zero emissions,  The ActiveE shines brightest on the weekends when it gets to go out and play.

Speaking of the work week, every morning you wake up, the ActiveE is 100% full.  No trips to gas stations (ever.) No “needle anxiety” watching that ever descending fuel guage and the buggardly yellow light that comes on demanding your attention, requiring  a side trip to a gas station where you have the privilege to hand over $60 to mostly foreign countries.   The ActiveE is a financial relief and a time saver that is hard to describe until you experience the first click of a J1772 connection.  

When the work week is done, the ActiveE gets to play.  Most folks contemplating driving electric do so with the thought that the electric car will just be the commuter car performing an important but limited task.   Wrong!  Very wrong! Again wrong! One more time, wrong.

With a range of 100 miles and opportunity charging both at home and in the field, combined with the DNA and driving dynamics of a BMW, the weekend is when the ActiveE shines.  At the end of the long fun day, you look back at the car one last time before heading into the house and you say to yourself  “What an amazing time we live in when we can drive a whole day powered by sunshine”   knowing that the car will be fully charged and ready again the next time you go out that garage door.

As I have said in previous posts,  while driving I still break out in spontaneous laughter, not quite sure how this all works, slightly disbelieving that I can drive a car like the ActiveE on electrons made from my rooftop far cheaper and cleaner than gasoline.

This past Saturday 2/11/12 was a typical Saturday for me and Julie.   Here’s what it looks like:

We started out in the ActiveE with a 6:30 am  trip north to San Clemente for a stroll on the pier, rail trail and morning coffee.  We arrived back home at 8:30am and plugged in.  That drive was 52 miles RT with 44% charge remaining.    At 11:00 we unplugged,  100% charged and headed off to one of our favorite destinations, Temecula Wine Country, for  lunch and wine tasting.   We arrived back home at 5pm and plugged in with 8% range remaining.  That drive was 92 miles RT.  After a brief rest at home, Julie and I unplugged the Active E at 6:30pm with 42% range and had a beautiful romantic early Valentine’s Day  dinner sharing a 15 year old bottle of Napa Valley Silver  Oak. After dinner we drove to opening night of Shakespeare’s, Comedy of Errors  at New Village Arts Theatre.  We arrived back home at 11pm with 23% charge remaining. That drive was a 15 mile RT.  

That’s the kind of day the BMW Active E was made for.   A wonderful day with 159 total miles driven charging at home between each amazing outing.   Of course you could also charge out in the field with public charging as well and do a similar 150-200 mile day in the ActiveE. 

Here's more details of our longest trip of the day, the 92 mile trip to Temecula.  Temp was 65 degrees but very windy, 92 miles RT, 75% freeway at 75mph, 25% country roads. Range indicator had 8% charge remaining; efficiency was 3.8 miles per KW. Hint. the first 50% on the state of charge indicator s around 42 miles of range. The last 50% on the state of charge indicator is 55 miles of range. The engineers played it very conservative :) 
I would estimate the ActiveE has 5% greater range than the Mini-E on the freeways.
Loving the ActiveE and electric mobility.

Peder, spouse of an ActiveE driver, 1600 miles


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  2. Great writing Peder as usual.

    What a wonderful break-down of your day's drive cycle. I'm asked all the time how I can drive 100 miles in a day on a 40 mile range battery. The simple routine of frequently recharging a car is so foreign to most compared to the old habit of refueling a tank of gas that most people have a hard time wrapping their head around how that would work for them. You almost have to experience it to understand it. You did a great job here sharing your daily experience in a reassuring way.

    Sometimes I feel that the uninitiated think that our stories of life with a plug-in electric car sounds too good to be true. What most are missing is that we enjoy many technological advances in our lives all the time now days. The electrification of the automobile is just another one of those advancements. But as a replacement technology, the electric car is very disruptive to the status quo and a huge paradigm shift in our personal transportation habits. Once again, another recent advancement in technology that is so much better than the old technology in every way. That makes it a forgone conclusion.

    Now it's only a matter of how long it will take for the masses to except this technological change and put the old dangerous gasoline cars behind us.

  3. Jeff, my wife Julie who of course lived with me during the 2.5 years with the Mini-E, understood the concepts and drove the Mini-E on occasion.

    But it was only when she became the primary driver of the ActiveE and she did not have to go to gas stations and she did not have to fork over almost $300 a month and she was able to go everywhere that she wanted to go, and she had no reservations about plugging in both at home and the field, that she got it completely.

    She says "even if you live in a house with an electric car you don't fully comprehend how wonderful it is until you become the primary driver.

    There appears to be no substitute for actually doing it, try as hard as we may to write about it
    Thanks for posting! Love reading about your Volt.