BMW ActivE Issues Come to Fore


It has become industry practice before a vehicle is made available in the market, that carmakers test drive their cars to a select few for a number of months. This process would allow the carmaker insight into the performance and use of the vehicle for eventual upgrade and tweaking.

One of the cars that have undertaken this process is the BMW ActivE, the German automaker’s electric conversion of a BMW 1 Series two-door sedan. As of late, there are 700 vehicles currently on the roads today.

Last January 17, 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a recall for BMW ActivE electric vehicles that were built between August 17 and December 19, 2011. The main reason for the recall is the inadequate gear lubrication. This is one of the reasons for the recall and may be a result from the inadequate sealing of the drivetrain housing assembly. When gear lubrication goes below a certain level, the electric drive motor and gear assembly can suddenly fail, causing the gear to grind on the output shaft of the electric motor that would cause splining failure.

When the electric motor splines, then a new motor needs to be fitted into the vehicle. There have been sixteen (16) reported failures for those with the new BMW ActivE. In response, the carmaker had modified the design of its electric motor alongside a new gasket to prevent the loss of gear lubrication. The recall is being done to address all the existing areas of concern, from the fitting of a new gasket between the motor and gear assembly as well as proper sealing of the two components. Since half of the cars produced had already been modified during its regular servicing, the recall would just cover the others either those who have already been serviced or would still be serviced in the future.

The recall was issued through a letter sent by BMW to those affected vehicle lessees.

Other concerns that have been aired include the reduced range of the vehicle during cold weather, down to seventy (70) from the hundred (100) mile BMW rating or the ninety four (94) EPA mileage rating. Also criticized is the limited trunk space of the vehicle, but overall many of the users of the ActivE are happy with their vehicles on the road.

The first production electric vehicle is set to reach showrooms in 2015, with the 2014 BMW i3 being unveiled in this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show.

German Giant Unveils Improved Green Machine


BMW, the German car giant, has been giving tidbits as to their electric concept platforms. Now they will take center stage at the Paris Motor Show where they would be formally unveiling their concept electric vehicle called the i3. While this program has been in the works for quite some time, the latest version would be unveiled in the Paris Motor Show. The focus in this version would be the demand to lower the demand for fuel as well as having renewable materials both within and outside the concept vehicle.

Amongst the renewable materials utilized would be the eucalyptus wood dashboard taken from a sustainable source in Europe, as well as the use of natural fibers such as wool and tanning extracts for the leather used from olive leaves. The concept also has power under the hood, with 125kW/170bhp and 250Nm of torque would be able to drive the car from zero to 100 in just eight seconds according to the reports from BMW. The battery of the i3 has a full charging time of six hours and may improve especially when the vehicle would become available only by 2013.

The other vehicle in the electric mode design for BMW is the i8. These two cars have been geared for different markets but share a common effect of being environmentally friendly. The i3 would be a small city electric vehicle while the i8 would be a hybrid sports car with both an electric motor and a three cylinder internal combustion engine range extender. Both are built from lightweight aluminum structure with the body from carbon fiber materials. This makes the two designs lighter than usual, allowing for a smaller battery pack to run them without being inefficient. BMW says that the i3 is able to travel up to 95 miles on a single full charge while the i8 can only travel up to 21 miles with its electric motor not being assisted by the gasoline engine.

As of the moment, there have been no determined prices for these prized electric vehicles.  Other design innovations include the extensive use of glass, opposing doors, absence of a center tunnel, and high tech gadgetry on the dashboard. The gadgets include a nearly nine inch Central Information Display, six and a half inch ‘instrument cluster’ and a third touch screen that manages audio and airconditioning for the vehicles. Another feature would be the inclusion of folding iPedelec Concept bikes in the rear trunk of both the i3 and i8. Clearly, a true all embracing concept on personal mobility that is environmentally friendly from BMW.

BMW Joins Electric Race


BMW has also joined the other automakers in creating its own design for its version of the electric car. The model is called the i3 and the i8, with its projected full market release in 2014.

The two electric car models would be launched in the German Auto Show. Unlike other car designs, which swapped an existing internal combustion engine with an electric motor, BMW design engineers designed an electric car from scratch.

The i3 is designed for the urban setting and runs on a 125 kW electric motor using the proprietary LifeDrive architecture. The battery is a carbon passenger cell lowering the overall weight to 2,755 pounds. The unit can also be fitted with the BMW REx range extender. This unit would charge the electric battery when the car is in motion.

The BMW i3 is constructed with super-light, but super strong, carbon fiber and aluminum. The projected battery range of the BMW electric car is up to 100 miles, greater than some of the electric cars already in the market.

The i3 is outfitted with 170 horsepower motor, designed to maintain the feel of the internal combustion engine BMW. The prototype i3 can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 7.9 seconds. Engineers of BMW also provide an optional fast charger that can allow 80% charging of the battery with just an hour of electrical charge.

The i8 is a plug-in hybrid performance vehicle that uses battery power and electric motor to travel at least 20 miles on electric power alone before switching to the three-liter engine included in the car design. This is a gull-winged sports car with a 0 to 60 mph travel of only five seconds. The car is electronically designed to top speed of 134 mph and full charging can be achieved in just two hours. The engine displacement is 328 horsepower and a fuel economy range of 75.1 miles per gallon.

As for cost, being a high-end brand, the BMW i3 is set at a bargain $35,000, very near the actual costs of the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt.