The second phase of BMW's 'project i' city car initiative at the Detroit Auto Show unveils a new plug-in electric version of the 1-Series Coupe. The new four-seater known as the BMW 1-Series Concept ActiveE previews a zero-emission BMW that will to go into a limited lease program for preferred customers in selected markets.
In the UK, the new car is believed to form a major part of BMW's recently awarded official London Olympics car supplier program from late 2010. The car was created along the same lines as the front-wheel-drive Mini E, which is credited with kick-starting the BMW Group's 'project i' initiative.
The ActiveE switches the emphasis to rear-wheel drive and uses a synchronous electric motor mounted within the rear axle casing to provide propulsion.
With 170bhp and 184lb ft of torque, the brushless unit draws energy from two separate banks of lithium ion batteries. One bank would be where the fuel tank usually resides and the second bank is in place of the engine.
BMW claims that acceleration from zero to 37mph can be achieved in just 4.5sec and 0-62mph in less than nine seconds. The top speed is limited to 90mph to safeguard the level of charge within the batteries.
BMW says that its latest concept car's real world range at 100 miles is sufficient for the ActiveE to meet most urban-based motoring needs.
Recharging of the batteries is achieved via a standard power socket. But if you're in a hurry, you can opt for a high-charge function that recharges in just three hours at 50 amps/240 volts in Europe.