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BMW ActiveE
ActiveE is a modified BMW 1-Series

The electric vehicle market is starting to take off with an enormous amount of research/money and many of the major automakers around the world working on hybrid and full electric vehicles. Hybrids are more common today than full electric vehicles because EVs typically lacks sufficient long distance driving capability for many drivers (not to mention the hefty price tag associated with fully electric vehicles).

BMW has been developing full electric vehicles and hybrids for a while. In August, BMW unveiled its EfficientDynamics Diesel Plug-in hybrid concept. The car was very sporty looking and offered impressive performance with a 0-62 mph run of 4.8 seconds. The electric engine and diesel engines combined produced 356 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque.

BMW also unveiled its Mini E all-electric vehicle and several of the cars came to America for testing in California. The Mini E has a 204 hp electric motor and promises an all-electric range of 150 miles.

BMW is now set for the next phase in its electric vehicle program and has unveiled the Concept ActiveE. The car is a modified BMW 1 series sedan that swaps the gasoline motor for an all-electric powertrain.

The vehicle will be premiered for the first time at the North American International Auto Show 2010 in Detroit. The new EVs will be fleet trialed much as the Mini E was with real drivers and governments getting hands on the vehicles for testing. The concepts behind the ActiveE will be used to developed n all-electric production car that BMW will sell under a sub brand in the next five years.

Power for the vehicle comes from advanced lithium-ion batteries that were jointly developed by BMW and SB LiMotive. The batteries will give a range of about 100 miles in everyday use. The new liquid-cooled battery packs charge quickly as well. On a 50 amp, 230/240 volt connection, the car will charge fully in three hours. On the circuits used in America, the car will recharge in about 4.5 hours.

The vehicle will be able to hit 60 mph in about 8.5 seconds. The maximum power output is 170 hp with 184 lb-ft of torque. BMW also uses a system to convert the vehicle's kinetic energy into power and the system is able to increase the vehicles range by 20%. The car will also interface with an app for smartphones allowing the driver to check the battery level and start the climate control system to cool or heat the car while it is on AC power.

The vehicle complete with its battery packs weighs 3,900 lbs compared to 3,252 lbs and 3,373 lbs for a conventional BMW 128i and 130i respectively. BMW also points out that the battery pack doesn't interfere with the 50/50 weight distribution of the vehicle and that the trunk is larger than that of the standard 1-Series convertible at 7 cu. ft.

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Car = Mobility
By Mk4ever on 12/17/2009 11:53:22 AM , Rating: 2
I still don't get the point of pure electric cars.

I do believe they will be the future at some point, but how about when you are low on fuel (you drove too much, you forgot to plug your car for charging last night.. etc) and you need to charge fast to continue to your destination?

A mobile is basically a phone that adds the benefit of being mobile. If your mobile is low on battery, you can plug it and talk. It's not a mobile phone during charging, but it's still a phone that you can use to talk/receive calls. But a car's main and only point is transportation. An EV plugged for charging is absolutely nothing, as long as the main function is disabled.

I know it could be a dumb idea, but why don't they design a standard battery for all brands ( or a few standards with different capacities) where these batteries can simply be swapped at certain stations, where low batteries are charged, and when you go to a station, your low battery gets swapped with a fully charged one, instead of waiting hours for your battery to charge?

Make them smaller, with less but reasonable ranges (say 30-70 miles), but make them swappable. That way it should take the same time during swapping as it would take to fill your car with gas, probably a little bit more.

May look stupid, but if I was in charge, I'd probably do that, and that would also leave room for improvement when newer, more capable batteries are released due to new technologies.

RE: Car = Mobility
By xii on 12/17/2009 12:26:10 PM , Rating: 2
It's not a dumb idea, this is a startup betting on it, among other things:
(I know, the video is lame but still, there's your idea)

Also Renault-Nissan is planning a large scale commercialization of low price cars with swappable batteries.

RE: Car = Mobility
By 3DoubleD on 12/17/2009 1:31:39 PM , Rating: 4
All I got from that video is that it's a huge pain owning an EV and that I'd spend 10x more time and effort keeping my vehicle fueled over a gasoline/diesel fueled car. This is even worse when you consider that you aren't doing anything better for the environment and it is costing you more. This will not be widely adopted until it's either cheaper, "greener", or more convenient. At present EVs are none of those.

RE: Car = Mobility
By Rasterman on 12/17/2009 2:17:56 PM , Rating: 2
I agree the technology is too expensive right now, but that's how it works, early adopters pay a lot for limited performance. Actually it is far better for the environment, burning gas at a power plant to run a generator, transferring that power to your house through 50 miles of power lines, converting it 10 times up and down to different voltages, charging your batter pack, running the electric motor in the car IS MORE EFFICIENT than burning the gas directly in your car. Don't believe it? Do some research, its true. That should help you understand how terribly inefficient ICE cars are.

RE: Car = Mobility
By zmatt on 12/17/2009 3:40:17 PM , Rating: 2
How about the terrible environmental effects of lithium ion batteries on landfills? Dry cell batteries have a very finite life and when they are dead they are worthless. You really can't recycle battery cells and needless to say they are made out of materials that are harmful to the environment. EVs may cut down on CO2 production, but that has lag time of several decades before we see benefits. It would only take a decade before we start to see the effects of landfills full of dead EV batteries. You would turn the landfills of major cities into superfund sites very quickly. Until you can make a biodegradable battery EVs are a wasted investment.

RE: Car = Mobility
By lelias2k on 12/17/2009 9:07:44 PM , Rating: 3
That's not true at all. Lithium ion batteries can be recycled. Here's the first article I got from Google: (there are many more)

Not too long ago I read about Japanese companies already being far advanced in auto batteries recycling, exactly due to the investments towards hybrids and EVs.

Besides, as this becomes a bigger problem, it also turns out to be a bigger opportunity, with more companies getting into it. Simple economics.

By shrugging off EVs based on current market and technology you're simply showing that you lack understanding how things are developed. (i.e. 20-30 years ago people thought it was ridiculous to pay $5000 for a PC, but without those PCs we wouldn't be where we are now...)

RE: Car = Mobility
By LucidLight on 12/17/2009 2:57:30 PM , Rating: 4
How about 10 mins for a recharge?
There have been many stories and companies with reports of doing 80% charge or more in 10 minutes or so with 3 Phase chargers. It would be easy to install one or two chargers at the local gas station.

Here is a latest story:

RE: Car = Mobility
By Hieyeck on 12/17/2009 5:27:13 PM , Rating: 2
The vehicle needs 350 kW of power to obtain that ten minute charge time. But the car can also use a standard outlet which would require an overnight charge.

Read and Achieve.

350kW is about what 60 households would use. SIXTY households.

FYI, the rough math:
- 2 computers at 500W each for 1kw
- major appliances at 2kw
- lights and minor appliances at 1kw
- heating and air-conditioning. 1.5kw

RE: Car = Mobility
By FITCamaro on 12/18/2009 12:29:36 AM , Rating: 2
Only $80,000 for the battery pack huh?

RE: Car = Mobility
By FITCamaro on 12/17/2009 1:23:36 PM , Rating: 3
Because the batteries weigh a few hundred pounds. You're not just swapping out a laptop battery here. You'd need an engine hoist of sorts just to get them out of the car. And that's assuming you even could. The batteries are typically under the car for center of gravity. How you plan to get it out?

RE: Car = Mobility
By Rasterman on 12/17/2009 2:19:56 PM , Rating: 2
If the battery packs are in smaller pieces a child could replace them. Just because the pack weighs 500 pounds doesn't mean you can't pull out 50 pounds at a time. I doubt it works that way but who knows.

RE: Car = Mobility
By Mk4ever on 12/17/2009 2:20:30 PM , Rating: 2
Who ever said it has to be a single huge battery?

The way I thought of it, each car will utilize several batteries, each weighing 5-10 (probably even 15) kgs, which can be installed/removed in a similar way like the way you insert/remove an HP inkjet printer cartridge.

And since they are a few, relatively low weight batteries, they can fit anywhere in the car, and this gives manufacturers more flexibility during designing, whether for where to place the batteries, or regarding balancing the car.

RE: Car = Mobility
By FITCamaro on 12/18/2009 12:26:23 AM , Rating: 2
It doesn't matter about the way you thought of it. It matters what they're actually doing.

If you had multiple batteries, then you also need multiple cooling/heating elements for keeping the batteries at an ideal temperature. That complicates things.

In the end, removable batteries are a retarded idea. It requires at least 1.5x as many batteries as there are cars. Where are all these batteries going to come from? Furthermore, hot swapping them means you don't own the battery. And who's going to buy a car that has components in it they don't own. Or are cars going to have a sticker on them "batteries sold and rented separately". Maybe then they can sell them in Toys R Us along side the power wheels for kids.

RE: Car = Mobility
By Hiawa23 on 12/17/2009 1:43:12 PM , Rating: 2
Seems like the technology just hasn't caught up yet for full electric vehicles. Nice if they put that much resource into improving gasoline only engine vehicles. Had they done that we may have gas vehicles averaging 40mpg right now. I am all for the electric revolution, but let's be honest, the majority of consumers have gasoline vehicles, will buy gasoline vehicles, so why not improve this technology also, as the masses aren't buying electric or hybrids.

RE: Car = Mobility
By Rasterman on 12/17/2009 2:21:41 PM , Rating: 2
<sarcasm>Yeah no one has ever improved the gasoline engine.</sarcasm> Are you kidding me? There have been MILLIONS, hell probably BILLIONS, of man hours improving the gasoline engine.

RE: Car = Mobility
By JosephMcD on 12/17/2009 2:26:16 PM , Rating: 2
The biggest problem with swapping batteries out at gas stations and the like is warrantying the units. Manufacturers aren't going to let your average Joe mechanic or gas station attendant swap out 400lbs of batteries in a quick go. These batteries are heavy, big and not easy to store at all so even a big garage might have 2-3 sets (using a lot of space). Not particularly practical.

Another idea I've heard tossed around on this subject is that of having a relatively cheap quick charge device that a home or gas station could install that would allow for the ridiculously large currents that the EVs need to charge quickly.

RE: Car = Mobility
By monomer on 12/17/2009 8:30:44 PM , Rating: 2
Here's an interesting article about a solution to the short range of EV's:

Might not look the greatest, but a modular car lets you use it as a city runabout, or for a cross-country trip.

RE: Car = Mobility
By Spivonious on 12/18/2009 10:25:33 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. What happens if you hit a traffic jam in winter? You have to run the heater, and probably have the stereo going too. Watch your battery slowly run out until your car won't move any more. The Volt has the right idea by including a gas generator.

RE: Car = Mobility
By aqwan135 on 12/20/09, Rating: 0
RE: Car = Mobility
By aqwan135 on 12/20/09, Rating: 0
RE: Car = Mobility
By aqwan135 on 12/20/09, Rating: 0
Not a 'Beamer.
By Reclaimer77 on 12/17/09, Rating: 0
RE: Not a 'Beamer.
By D2Lalma on 12/17/2009 11:50:05 AM , Rating: 2
The electric engine and diesel engines combined produced 356 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque.

The other concept is a 204hp small car. 204hp is not enough for a smal car?

RE: Not a 'Beamer.
By Spuke on 12/17/2009 12:12:42 PM , Rating: 2
The electric engine and diesel engines combined produced 356 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque.
Those figures are not for the ActiveE. The ActiveE gets:
The maximum power output is 170 hp with 184 lb-ft of torque.

And at 3900 lbs, it will be a dog. 0-60 in 8.5 seconds? Maybe downhill with Hurricane Katrina behind you.

RE: Not a 'Beamer.
By Spuke on 12/17/2009 12:17:16 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Not a 'Beamer.
By walk2k on 12/17/2009 12:49:16 PM , Rating: 2
That's about 1.5 seconds faster than a Prius and it's not quite as ugly.

RE: Not a 'Beamer.
By Spuke on 12/17/2009 1:07:43 PM , Rating: 2
That's about 1.5 seconds faster than a Prius and it's not quite as ugly.
Sure it's not as ugly but the ActiveE isn't a hybrid it's an EV. Can't really compare the two.

RE: Not a 'Beamer.
By Spuke on 12/17/2009 1:11:38 PM , Rating: 2
Another thing. The range is supposed to be around 100 miles "in everyday use" so in order to get that acceleration, you'd seriously deplete the battery. You know I would really like to know how many full throttle runs you could do on these EV's before you're out of juice. You'd really have to tread lightly with these cars. I wonder how the MiniE owners are faring.

RE: Not a 'Beamer.
By Hieyeck on 12/17/2009 5:02:16 PM , Rating: 2
Like the Chevy Volt looks any better. [/sarcasm]

RE: Not a 'Beamer.
By Rasterman on 12/17/2009 2:24:03 PM , Rating: 2
RTFA. Its not a car you are going to buy, its a test bed for BMW to get better at making these kinds of cars. And when they finally go into mass production, THEY AREN'T GOING TO BE BMWS!

"that BMW will sell under a sub brand in the next five years."

Should have diesel backup
By DADIO917 on 12/17/2009 2:27:43 PM , Rating: 2
Seems to me the perfect carbon neutral car would have plug in electric drive train with a bio-diesel backup generator. Even if the generator only produced 75% power at least the car would have great range at reasonable power. The volt could be this except for the gas engine.

RE: Should have diesel backup
By chunkymonster on 12/18/2009 9:28:50 AM , Rating: 2
Totally agree! 100%!

If the government was serious about displacing dependency on foreign oil then they should/would quickly recognize that a bio-diesel/electric hybrid is the most viable solution.

With recent advances in the breaking down (just about any type) of bio-mass into bio-diesel, the proper tax incentives and policy could easily be implemented to encourage bio-diesel production. The best part is, aside from investing/upgrading refineries to produce bio-diesel, is that the fuel could be pumped and transported using the existing infrastructure; no special refueling stations or delivery systems necessary.

RE: Should have diesel backup
By Redwin on 12/18/2009 3:21:07 PM , Rating: 2
The Volt was originally intended to have a diesel engine generator but they cut it out of the first model. They weren't super specific why, something about it being more complicated to integrate; but I suspect it might have more to do with the US being much more standardized on gasoline and GM only wanting to offer one model with the widest possible appeal to start with.

They've stated they intend to bring back the diesel engine and offer it as an option in future model years, as they're fully aware it would offer increased efficiency.

www ecological
By wwwcd on 12/18/2009 3:36:49 AM , Rating: 2
Enough with these hybrids at this increasingly conceptual developments! I want to finally start the actual production of cars, moving only by electricity, which store in cells of battery and loaded directly from the mains! Electricity, even if produced by coal-fired thermal power plants is more environmentally-friendly production, than is this generated by the internal combustion engine!

Wait, what?!
By FoxFour on 12/19/2009 11:24:13 PM , Rating: 2
On a 50 amp, 230/240 volt connection, the car will charge fully in three hours. On the circuits used in America, the car will recharge in about 4.5 hours.

What sort of magical American circuits are we talking about, here?

In Canada, a typical wall outlet is on a 110-120V, 15A circuit. Garage outlets (where you might plug in a vehicle's block heater or small power tools) are 110-120V, 20A. The outlet for an electric clothes dryer is 240V, 30A, but is located inside the dwelling. Perhaps 1 in 1000 people have outdoor (or garage) access to a similar outlet for operating a welder or comparable high-power appliance. And in both cases, electrical safety codes would never allow for such an outlet being used in a frequently plugged/unplugged application with a cord long enough to be useful with a vehicle.

Yet somehow, "circuits used in America" can charge the battery in only 150% of the time that a 240V, 50A circuit can?

And while we're on that... where the hell do you find a 240V, 50A circuit in a European household, anyway?

www saddened
By wwwcd on 12/20/2009 10:57:27 AM , Rating: 2
America, I apologize for your poor electricity!

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