BMW ActiveE to lease for $499/month

BMW has announced pricing for its ActiveE battery-powered 1-series coupe: $499/month for a 24-month lease, with $2250 down. Although the terms are different, that pricing ends up being about the same as what you’d pay to lease the company’s current electric vehicle, the Mini E, which was available in 2010 for $600/month with no down payment, for a one-year term. Upon its initial offering, in 2009, the cost was $850/month, again for 12 months with $0 down. Like the Mini E, the ActiveE is being leased only. Deliveries start this fall.

Whereas 450 electric Minis were available to U.S. customers, BMW is increasing that number to 700 for the Active E. BMW is also expanding the number of markets for its latest electric. In addition to the New York metro area and L.A./Orange County in Southern California, the Active E will be offered in San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Boston, and Connecticut.

Using a new lithium-ion battery pack, the ActiveE has an expected range of 100 miles. The batteries are heated and cooled, to improve their performance in extreme temperatures. Unlike the Mini E, the electric 1-series remains a 4-passenger vehicle. The electric motor puts out 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, and BMW claims a 0-to-60 time of less than 9 seconds.

Prospective customers can download a smart-phone app, called BMW Evolve, that tracks their driving patterns and can help determine if they’re a good candidate for an electric vehicle.

The ActiveE replaces the Mini E, but it is only an intermediate step in the company’s EV strategy. Next will be the i3 (the mega-city vehicle), which will launch sometime in 2013.

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