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Electric BMW 1 Series

Concept BMW demonstrates electric power

BMW Concept ActiveE

The Concept ActiveE looks like a normal 1 Series on the outside

The genuine, real world electric car gets ever closer, as BMW follows up the with an all-electric 1 Series.

Called the BMW Concept ActiveE, it’s based on the . But replacing the usual petrol or diesel engine under the bonnet is a modular, liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack, which drives a 167bhp electric motor incorporated into the rear axle and specially created for the car.

100-mile range, strong performance

There are more batteries where the fuel tank and prop shaft would usually be, giving a total range of around 100 miles in ‘everyday’ driving.

The motor, which provides an instant 184lb ft of torque (pulling power), is powerful enough to accelerate the Concept ActiveE 0-62mph in under nine seconds.

BMW Concept ActiveE

BMW reckons the charge time for the ActiveE is just three hours

Top speed is around 90mph. Charging time for the battery pack is as little as three hours (seriously impressive by today’s standards) and obviously the only CO2 emissions are those generated by the power station used to provide the electricity.

Helping extend the range as much as possible, the BMW Concept ActiveE features energy recuperation – as soon as the accelerator is released the electric motor turns into a generator and functions as a charger for the batteries.

Still a BMW

With a similar near-50/50 weight distribution, the Concept ActiveE is said to be just as much fun to drive as a regular 1 Series Coupé, and it offers the same level of passenger room inside.

There is, however, a slight reduction in boot space to safely accommodate the electronics for the motor. There’s still more space than in a however, at approximately 200 litres.

The steering, brakes, heating and air conditioning systems all rely on electric power – and when plugged into a power outlet, the Concept ActiveE can be pre-heated or cooled as required, drawing power from the grid rather than the batteries.

This function can even be controlled by mobile phone, thanks to BMW ConnectedDrive.

BMW Concept ActiveE

The 1 Series’ rev counter is replaced by a charge indicator


ConnectedDrive also gives details on vehicle condition, battery status, range, and will help you search for public recharging stations.

Mobile phone functions also include remote access to the car’s charge status, enabling the driver to check the charge amount left against the distance required, allowing them to plan other activities according to an accurate assessment of the available or necessary time.

Circuit board-inspired graphics, exhaust-free bodywork, and unique interior detailing mark the Concept ActiveE out from other 1 Series models. Inside, the rev counter is replaced by a battery charge indicator, and in the boot you can look at the power electronics via a Perspex panel.

The BMW Concept ActiveE is part of BMW’s Project i Megacity Vehicle programme, which eventually aims to build a city car suitable for a sustainable mobility future. As with the Mini E, a fleet of all-electric 1 Series are planned for worldwide trial.


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