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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.


BMW Bets $100 Million on New Business Ventures

A cautious carmaker takes some risks.

by on Apr.14, 2011

Renamed i8, the BMW Vision concept will be one of the first two models for the maker's new BMW i sub-brand.

No risk, no reward, right? Corporate graveyards are littered with the decaying remains of corporate business ventures and significant investments into unknown businesses about which little was known, technology was paramount, executive management was inexperienced or the board of directors was brain dead. Not exactly a stunning review or forecast of the future, especially now.

That is why it was surprising when BMW, known for its calm, considered and cautious approach to business, announced BMW i Ventures, a venture capital company with an investment fund of up to $100 million to develop “individual mobility solutions” for the world’s biggest cities. This is in addition to the previously announced BMW i secondary brand of the Munich based company.

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BMW i, according to a recent statement, is the new business for sustainable vehicles and mobility solutions including the BMW i3 and BMW i8 model cars, to be launched in 2013, that will be built in a new €400 million factory in Leipzig, Germany. “The BMW i brand is the response to changing customer needs, including increasing demand for alternative drive trains, such as electric drive systems and hybrids’,” noted Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for sales and marketing.

Joerg Reimann, managing director of the new business told me in a recent telephone interview, “BMW i Ventures is the second pillar under the BMW i brand is focusing on services not necessarily connected to cars,” which, he admits, is, “An unconventional approach.”   The new division is aiming at consumers in high density, megacities where not all will own or need to own an automobile – thus increasing the need for solutions involving public transportation and organizing one’s life.