April 20, 2011

BMW gambles on EV

BMW gambles sporty image on electric cars

NEW YORK — BMW, gambling its image as a high-performance brand, will put 700 of its 1 Series coupes on the streets this fall with an all-electric drive that it says will satisfy sports car fans and also use no petroleum.
BMW promised the ActiveE will be “100% electric and 100% BMW.” And it will go about 100 miles on a charge, the automaker says.

It is the start of a move toward electric power by the car company famous for its smooth, powerful gasoline engines and its crisp-handling sedans.

If the test of the so-called ActiveE coupe is successful, BMW will follow in 2013 with an electric vehicle it has designed from scratch to run on battery power, using a lightweight aluminum chassis and a strong, light carbon-fiber passenger-compartment cell.

That car will be called i3, even though BMW says it won’t resemble the current 3-Series sedan.The company’s first test was of a handful of electric Mini Coopers.

The 170-hp ActiveE was shown Monday at a Manhattan dealership at an event ahead of the New York International Auto Show that begins later this week.

BMW will lease 700 ActiveE’s to interested drivers in U.S. coastal cities this fall for 24 months at $499 per month, plus a $2,250 payment at the start of the lease.

Read the full Story At USA Today

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