You’re looking at a flatbed trailer full of "slightly used" BMW 1-Series ActiveE electric test cars that recently paid a visit to the crusher. The saddening sight of low-mileage Bimmers spray painted, pancaked, and parked atop each other is an unexpected part of the automaker’s initial testing of fully electrified vehicles in preparation for the i3 and i8 models.
BMW launched the testing program in 2010 with some 700 1-Series in a massive real-world field study with regular owners (that BMW termed electronauts) behind the wheels. BMW studied everything from driving habits to the cars’ performance over time while the owners reported back their thoughts and findings. However, now that the production version of the i3 is available and the i8 coming in limited numbers, , BMW ended the extended lease program.
The automaker announced it would be sending many of the used cars to a car-sharing service in California, but only 70 units have been allotted. The remaining cars’ fates were left in question as the owners turned in their cars for new i3 vehicles. That is, until this pictures surfaced recently on Facebook.
Granted, the ActiveE cars were all pre-production models that could never legally be outright sold to a regular buyer, but we can’t help but wonder why BMW isn’t donating these leftover cars to high school and college technology programs around the country. Perhaps we’ll take solace in knowing this flatbed represents only a small portion of the 700 ActiveE electric cars and the rest might receive happier fates.
Click past the jump to read more about the BMW ActiveE.
Why It Matters
The ActiveE 1-Series test cars were fitted with early pre-production versions of the i3’s electric drivetrain. These cars were put in the hands of selected owners for some serious real-world evaluations through every day use. As these owners’ leases come to term, they are trading their slightly used ActiveEs in for brand-new i3s. And though the ActiveEs are in good working order, their pre-production status prevents their resale. It’s just a shame the cars couldn’t find a more useful fate than the recycle bin.
The ActiveE is based on the 1-Series Coupe but is powered completely by electricity. A single electric motor gets its power from a lithium-ion battery and makes 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet or torque. For packaging reasons and good weight distribution, the battery pack is located under the hood while the electric motor finds a home just over the rear axle.
Besides the absence of an exhaust note, the ActiveE BMWs are spotted by their unique Alpine White paint job accented by silver colored, circuit-inspired graphics. The car also gets a bespoke hood with a unique power dome necessary for fitting the large battery pack.