BMW showcases electric 1 Series

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BMW has revealed an electric prototype of its 1 Series Coupe called Concept ActiveE. It comes as the second part of the firms 'project i' initiative and will be unveiled at the Detroit motor show in January.

The concept has been designed to undergo limited leasing trials in selected markets including the UK. It has been conceived along the same lines as the Mini E and is powered by a new synchronous electric motor developing 170bhp and 184 lb ft torque. Energy is stored in a lithium ion battery pack jointly developed by BMW and SB LiMotive.

BMW expects performance to be decent with 0-62mph possible in less than 9 seconds with a maximum speed of around 90mph (limited). Like the Mini E the ActiveE's real-world-range should be around 100 miles on a single charge. In Europe on a boosted 50 amp/240 volt socket BMW says the charge time should be around 3 hours.

The 1 Series ActiveE looks very much like the standard 1 Series coupe and will seat four – the rear seats haven't been sacrificed to the battery pack, in contrast to the Mini E – and BMW has added several details to improve its range, including low rolling resistance tyres and lighter alloy wheels, the removal of the exhaust system and the deletion of the smaller cooling ducts in the front bumper.

Lease programme details are few at the moment but it's thought that the 1 Series Concept ActiveE production version will be similarly priced to the Mini E, which is currently being leased for £330 per month.