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BMW Sets $499/month Price Tag for ActiveE

Maker also launching new 4-cylinder version of Z4 roadster, while planning two new “green” dealerships for Manhattan.

by on Apr.18, 2011

BMW enters the battery-car market with the ActiveE.

BMW customers can finally plug into the emerging world of battery car technology.  The maker has formally announced pricing for its first electric vehicle, the ActiveE, while also making several other “green” announcements in advance of this week’s New York Auto Show.

The limited-edition BMW ActiveE will give the maker the chance to test both demand for battery cars – and the electric vehicle technology it is now developing – in preparation for the launch of its new BMWi unit, which will focus specifically on alternative propulsion.

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In all, just 700 ActiveE sedans will be brought over to the U.S., and interested customers will be able to start signing up late this coming summer.  They’ll be available for a 24-month lease only, at $499 a month, with a $2,250 down-payment.

The monthly figure is several $100 more than a new Nissan Leaf, but a fraction of the anticipated $1,200 a month that the  Volvo C30 Electric, which reviewed recently – Click Here for more on the C30 battery carwill likely go for.

ActiveE buyers will have the ability to control or check on various vehicle functions through a smartphone app.

BMW isn’t providing all the details yet – including horsepower numbers, which some sources suggest come in around 190.  Actually, with an electric vehicle, torque is what really matters, and there something in the range of 300 lb-ft seems likely, the ActiveE projected to turn in 0 to 60 times of around 9 seconds.

The vehicle will use a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack, though the precise formulation and size always remains to be revealed.  The significant detail is the range of “around 100 miles” per charge that BMW is forecasting.

“The BMW ActiveE is part of our ongoing strategy to develop environmentally friendly, yet high-performance vehicles,” said Rich Steinberg, manager of Electric Vehicle Operations and Strategy, BMW NA. “It brings us another step closer to the realization of the BMW i3, which we will launch in 2013.”

Like most European makers, BMW was slow to enter the battery-electric market, launching its first hybrid vehicle barely a year ago.  But with projects like BMWi and ActiveE, the Bavarian maker is striking into “green” territory with a vengeance.

BMW will spend $60 million on a pair of "green" Manhattan showrooms.

It’s even planning to develop a pair of environmentally-friendly, LEEDS-certified showrooms for Manhattan – at a price tag of $60 million.  Highlights of the BMW and Mini projects include:

  • Specially-designed louvers on the exterior of the building to reduce heat loads while maximizing daylight;
  • Installation of solar panels on the roof of the MINI building;
  • High efficiency fluorescent, metal halide and LED light fixtures;
  • New high-efficiency mechanical equipment including heat exchangers to capture heat from exhaust air;
  • Low-flow plumbing fixtures;
  • Regionally sourced materials that have a substantial recycled material content;
  • Implementation of waste recycling practices during and after construction.

As a final note, BMW used its Monday news conference to lock down details of the new Z4 sDrive28i Roadster, which marks the first time the maker has offered a product with a four-cylinder engine in the U.S. market in some years.

The roadster will use direct-injection and twin-scroll turbocharging to deliver the sort of numbers one can only recently expect out of an inline-four, its 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque on a par with the Z4 using a naturally-aspirated, 3.0-liter V6.

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