Friday, April 22, 2011

MINI-E Pioneers Get Exclusive Look at the ActiveE!

Aaron Singer of BMW explains some of the ActiveE features to the MINI-E pioneers.






Last night the East Coast Mini-E pioneers were invited to a sneak preview of the BMW ActiveE at the New York Auto Show. The show doesn't actually open to the public until today, but BMW wanted the loyal MINI-E pioneers to get the first look at the successor to the MINI-E, and the final test vehicle they will be making before the 2013 BMW i3 hits showrooms. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the i3, it will be the first all electric car that BMW sells, and is scheduled to be offered for sale in 2013. The MINI-E, and now the ActiveE were low production test vehicles, leased to customers to help BMW refine the hardware and learn and overcome the challenges of introducing an all electric vehicle to the public so when they do sell the i3, it will be the best electric vehicle available. 


MINI-E customers have been promised that if we want to lease the ActiveE this year when the MINI-E program ends, that we would be guaranteed to be the first in line for one, and last night BMW took the opportunity so show us here on the East coast the car in person. A similar event is planned for the West Coast MINI-E pioneers next month. After the roughly 45 minute Q&A and everyone had a chance to sit in and check out the car, we were all taken out to dinner compliments of BMW. I'd like to than Rich, Hugo, Marian, Teresa and Aaron of BMW for hosting such a great event and making the MINI-E pioneers feel special. Taking the time in a very busy Auto Show week to spend a night with some of your customers was really appreciated by all of us. 

The cost will be very similar to the MINI-E's lease price, $2,250 down and $499/month which comes out to  $593/month over the course of the term. We are currently paying $600/month for the MINI-E, but that included comprehensive & collision insurance and the installation of the home charger. The cost of insurance and home charger have not been mentioned by BMW, so I'm guessing that means it will be the lessees responsibility. I think they would have announced that it would be included in the lease price if that was their intention. To be fair, no other lease program currently includes insurance and the home charger like the MINI-E program did so I won't be surprised if we are told that those things are our responsibility. If you add the cost of the insurance and the home charger, I'm guessing that will add about $2,400 to the total cost, or about $100 per month. We all have the electrical lines running to our current chargers, so all we need are the new chargers hooked up. The AeroVironment chargers that the ActiveE will be using can be purchased for $1,000 retail. I'm sure we'll get a better price since BMW is buying about 800 of them and the installation will take all of 15 minutes. Personally I plan to do the installation myself if BMW wants us to pay for it. My personal electrician will do it for me for $100; permit and all, I already asked him. The insurance should only cost  an extra $500 or $600/year since we're already paying the liability insurance for the MINI-E.

In case why anyone was wondering why my picture is on the jumbo screen behind the car in the photo above, it's because they were playing a video advertisement for the ActiveE in which, for a brief second or two, they played a clip from one of the short films about the future of mobility that I was in, so I waited until that moment came up and quickly snapped the photo! 

Anyway, the ActiveE looks awesome and although I'm really going to miss #250, I think the amenities offered in the ActiveE will take the edge off missing this car. The active thermal management and ability to precondition the cabin and battery(warm or cool it while still plugged into the grid) should make the car much better for me to drive in the cold snowy winters here in the North East. Plus, having a backseat and trunk will be nice also.

I'll be posting more about the event and the ActiveE in a day or so on my BMW ActiveE blog (You know I had to make a successor to this blog, right?) so check it out if you want to know more about the BMW ActiveE. Maybe you even want to apply to lease one also? Details on how to apply to lease an ActiveE will be posted on my ActiveE blog as soon as they are announced which should be in a month or two.

10 comments:

  1. Fantastic! Congratulations

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  2. Hey Tom, that's a great picture with you on the screen behind the car. When exactly is this car coming out?

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  3. Hey Tom,

    I think it was on the facebook page, but I believe somebody said something about insurance companies not insuring non-production vehicles like the Mini-E and ActiveE meaning that BMW would have to supply the insurance. I'm not 100% sure on that, but that is what I remember the person writing. Would be interesting to know if that is true.

    -Matt

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  4. I'm bitter. I want a MiniE and they won't even sell me a used one... I had an April delivery date for a LEAF and there is an earthquake. I want an electric car already...

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  5. Matt: The collision & comprehensive insurance is based on the MSRP. All cars, even the limited production cars like the ActiveE have to have an MSRP. I spoke to a high level BMW employee about this at the Auto Show and was told obtaining insurance for it would not be a problem. It is a production car, just a very limited limited production. Any insurance company will issue insurance for it.

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  6. That's good to know Tom. I just looked up and it was Matt W. on the BMW i3 group on facebook that said that. Also, looking up production vehicle on Wikipedia, it says are car that you can buy and you can't actually go out and buy this car. But since you spoke with the high level BMW employee I'll go with what he said unless something else comes out on that. Thanks for the info.

    -Matt

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  7. Matt: We had to insure the MINI-E's ourselves and they are a limited production car that can't be bought. BMW only included the collision & comprehensive insurance. We all had to get a liability policy for them and show BMW proof of insurance. At the time, my insurance agent(State Farm) actually wrote me a complete policy (collision, comprehensive & liability)I didn't realize until I got the bill a few weeks later and had to have them amedn it and cancel the collision & comp, so it's evidently not a problem.
    The reason I got from BMW why they covered that insurance was because they didn't want one of us to total the car in an accident and the insurance company could then pay the total value and then keep the car! BMW didn't want them to be able to keep the car under any condition.

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  8. Ah, ok. I didn't know the part about you guys having to get the liability policy. Now with that information everything makes sense. Good to know.

    -Matt

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  9. Tom,
    I havent been keeping up with the Active E, whats the real world expected mileage? I've got a 80-90 mile round trip commute with the new house, finally got it. But I still havent convinced my company to install chargers, or even 110 outlets, so no way to boost the range during the day.

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  10. Hey Robert,
    BMW has been telling us it will have a 100 mile range and be pretty consistent throughout the year. I think in order to get 90+ miles per charge we will need to precondition the battery and cabin while plugged into the grid, I just don't see any around that. The good news is the car(like your volt) can easily be programmed precondition from either the center stack or a smartphone. It was really a nice car Robert, I can't wait to get one.

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