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BMW Concept ActiveE all electric vehicle unveiled at NAIAS

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January 11, 2010

BMW Concept ActiveE

BMW Concept ActiveE

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As we forecast back in December, BMW delivered the electric car everyone knew was coming today at the NAIAS. The BMW ActiveE Concept is an all-electric vehicle powered by liquid-cooled Li-ion batteries and is based on a 1 Series Coupe. It has rear wheel drive and is expected to boast a range of roughly 160 kilometers (100 miles) on a single charge, while BMW's ConnectedDrive allows control of the heating and AC system using a mobile phone, which can also be used to access battery information or locate charging stations.

Powered by a new synchronous electric motor specifically developed for the Concept ActiveE its maximum output is 125kW/170bhp and it boasts a maximum torque of 250Nm/184lb-ft, which is available from a standing start and remains available over a broad load range. BMW predicts a maximum speed of approx. 145 km/h (90 mph, electronically limited), acceleration from zero to 60 km/h (37mph) in less than 4.5 seconds and from zero to 100 km/h (62mph) in less than 9 seconds.

The electric motor is completely integrated into the rear axle and the power electronics are positioned above the motor. Space that would usually be taken up with the drivetrain and fuel tank in conventional combustion powered cars is used for energy storage. With a weight of 1,800kg (3900lbs) BMW says the ActiveE has a low center of gravity and an axle distribution typical of a BMW. The positioning of the battery pack shifts the vehicle’s center of gravity downwards, while the battery cell layout within the vehicle preserves the near 50-50 weight distribution characteristic of BMW vehicles.

The vehicle's Li-ion battery pack can be recharged by a conventional power outlet at public charging stations or at a special wall box. On the European grid, the battery pack can be fully charged at a high-current power outlet (50 ampere) in as little as 3 hours. In North America, using a high-current (32 ampere continuous) residential wall box, the charge time is about 4.5 hours. A liquid cooling system and intelligent battery management system assist in increasing both the storage capacity and durability of the battery cells and also ensure that the long range of the vehicle can be maintained largely independent of external climatic conditions.

New BMW ConnectedDrive services designed exclusively for use in an electric vehicle include remote functions that allow the use of a mobile phone to check the charge status of the battery, search for public charging stations and activate the vehicle’s auxiliary heating and air conditioning functions. This allows drivers to heat or cool the vehicle before before a trip, but is only available when the vehicle is connected to a charging station and the battery is fully charged. This helps increase the range of the vehicle since the heater or air conditioning doesn't need to draw as much power from the battery during travel.

As part of its project i BMW has begun development of a second trial fleet of electric vehicles based on the BMW Concept ActiveE. These vehicles are intended for everyday use by private and select fleet customers as part of a large-scale field test. The company says the insights gathered in the process will be fed into the development of an electrically powered serial production vehicle which the BMW Group will put on the market under a sub-brand of BMW in the first half of the next decade.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
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