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BMW Concept ActiveE: 1 Series does the electric boogie

BMW has unveiled a new vehicle known as the Concept ActiveE -- an electrically driven version of its successful 1 Series coupe

Rory Reid

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BMW is continuing its pursuit of emissions-free driving in earnest. At the Detroit Motor Show, the company unveiled a new vehicle known as the Concept ActiveE -- an electrically driven version of its 1 Series coupe.

For this project, BMW's gutted a standard 1 Series and integrated a new synchronous electric motor directly into the rear axle. This produces 170hp and 250Nm of torque, which is good for a 0-37mph time of 4.5 seconds or a 0-62mph time of under 9 seconds. It's no Tesla Roadster, sure, but it'll leave a Toyota Prius for dead and spew out absolutely zero emissions in the process.

Power is provided by a lithium-ion battery pack developed jointly by BMW and SB LiMotive -- a company spawned by Bosche and Samsung SDI. Based on simulation data, we're told the unit can power the car for up to 150 miles, though in the real world -- where hills, Sunday drivers and traffic jams are less predictable -- the Concept ActiveE is more likely to have a range of 100 miles.

This being a BMW production, the Concept ActiveE will have a couple of extra tricks up its sleeve. Its BMW ConnectedDrive system will allow drivers to remotely check the level of charge remaining in the battery, search for nearby charging stations, or activate the heating and air-conditioning functions using their mobile phone.

The Concept ActiveE isn't intended for the mass market, but don't be surprised if BMW rolls out a limited number of vehicles to select private and fleet customers within the next 12-24 months -- just like it did with the Mini E concept back in October 2008. We'll keep an eye on the situation and keep you posted, but until then, have a butchers' at some pics of the ActiveE in our photo gallery by hitting the 'Continue' link below.

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The Concept ActiveE's electric motor has been integrated into the rear axle. It produces a respectable 170hp and 250Nm of torque, so it's powerful enough to take the car from 0-62mph in under 9 seconds.
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The car's ConnectedDrive system allows you to check battery charge levels and find a charging station using your mobile phone.
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The car is still a concept at this stage, but we're hoping BMW puts its money where its mouth is and creates limited-run test vehicles sometime within the next couple of years.

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