BMW ActiveE Testers – 80% Say Range Of 99 Miles Is Sufficient

MAR 13 2015 BY STAFF 40

BMW ActiveE

BMW ActiveE

BMW ActiveE

BMW ActiveE

When it comes to electric cars, most people think primarily of city cars and short-haul operations, but in reality long-haul routes can be achieved as well.

BMW Group launched in May 2013, together with the Technical University of Chemnitz and the Stadtwerke Leipzig, a program to collect data on long-distance suitability of electric cars.

Between May 2013 and December 2014, 23,000 BMW ActiveE rides were taken by consumers for a total distance of 450,000 kilometers. The maximum distance covered with a BMW ActiveE was 367 kilometers (in a single day, we presume).

The testers were able to cover 91 percent of their trips with the BMW ActiveE during their trial period, in less than ten percent of cases the restricted maximum range of ActiveE was overcome by the use of a conventionally powered vehicle. Four out of five drivers reported that they felt the maximum range of 160 km is sufficient.

*Editor’s Note: This post appears on BMWBLOG. Check it out here.

Last month there was an average of only 1.35 situations in which drivers had range anxiety.

Nevertheless, it is clear that electric mobility for more people in Germany can be attractive, but the charging infrastructure needs to be expanded significantly in order to speed up adoption of EVs.

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40 Comments on "BMW ActiveE Testers – 80% Say Range Of 99 Miles Is Sufficient"

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Any know what this means?
“Last month there was an average of only 1.35 situations in which drivers had range anxiety.”

It means that sometimes drivers of EVs take a trip long enough for them to experience “range anxiety”; that is, that they become worried that their EV might not have sufficient range to complete that trip without recharging along the way. In this survey, such a worry happened 1.35 times per month.

The original article states, that range anxiety went down during the test period and there were only 1.35 situations in the last month (100%/75drivers = 1.33%/driver —> 1 driver had range anxiety in the last month).

“80% Say Range Of 99 Miles Is Sufficent” for the second car in a first-mover household, presumably.

That’s what I was going to comment. Sure it’s sufficient… if you have a second car that’s a gasser.

Hey, you know they make cars that are like this. They are called PHEVs. They have a hybrid/range extender built right in!

Personally, I’m a 1 car household, and wont make the BEV plunge unless it has 200 miles min. Even then, it will be Tesla for the SC network, unless we see CCS pop up in more places by 2018/2019.

I am a 2 car household but look into getting rid of my 2001 ICE. I will not buy an ICE, if they come with a 150/200mi EV. I hate to drive an ICE and dread every business trip where I have to rent a car.
For the few times a year (vacation) I would either check on charging infrastructure or rent an ICE rather then having a PHEV or ICE.
Just my 2 cents.

For me, I regularly drive over 99/miles enough, that a 99 BEV won’t cut it and it would be too much of a hassle renting a car every ~2 weeks, let’s say.

That’s why I drive a Volt. 85% of my driving is on electricity, but when I do need to run to somewhere that is 100 miles round-trip, my car can get me there. Even with a 99 mile BEV, you really aren’t going to use the full range since you need to keep a buffer. That’s one advantage of a PHEV, because you can maximize the kWH you have stored.

Why am I seeing that bearded guy in your post: “I don’t always drive over 90 miles, but when I do – I drive a Chevy Volt!” –

– Kdawg: The Most Interesting Driver In The World.


The flip side of this is that, in this survey, fully 9% of the time, the EV driver thought the range of the EV wasn’t sufficient, and made alternate plans such as using a gas guzzler. That’s not a very good record for promoting adoption of EVs. In fact, for most drivers, I’d think they would probably only choose to own the EV if they had a second car (presumably a gas guzzler) as a backup. I recall a recent post by someone who was driving his EV on a long trip, with a passenger. When he had to stop to recharge along the way, his passenger asked “Don’t you find it inconvenient to have to stop to recharge your EV?” The driver replied “Yes, but this is only the 3rd or 4th time this year I’ve had to do that. Every year, you spend more time driving to and from the gas station than I do waiting for my car to charge.” Only having to stop for a charge 3 or 4 trips a year would, I think, be acceptable to most drivers. But if you have to stop to charge 9% of the time, or you have to… Read more »

9% does seem high. You can compare to this bell curve from

It’s showing daily mileage, which is different then miles/trip, but still useful info.

Thanks, kdawg.

I should have specified “BEV” in my comment, instead of the more generic “EV”. As you point out, a PHEV such as the Volt eliminates range anxiety. PHEVs are EVs too!

Here is the link to the original article:
It shows one big difference: the car was given to 75 “commuters” not “consumers”. So the previous posts were correct in assuming that this test was not done with the average driver…

Thanks, Chris. But the average commuter shouldn’t be exceeding that 99 miles per day limit on a normal day. Sure, there are long-distance commuters for whom a BEV isn’t a good choice… maybe not even a PHEV, at least for some. But there are also lots of people who use their Leaf or other BEV with less than 99 real-world miles of range to drive to work every workday, and have no problems with range limitation.

“Four out of five drivers reported that they felt the maximum range of 160 km is sufficient.”
In Germany perhaps.

They need to be mindful of worldwide requirements and competition. If not, they’ll be in for a surprise when they try and sell their limited range BMW ActiveE against the 200 mile Bolt and Model 3.


I am more eager to kick the gas habit than most EV enthusiast out there. I wanted to go all electric. That is why I got the Nissan Leaf.
That all changed one night when I got stuck in Fredrick MD, about 48 miles from home with my wife and two of our kids. Waiting for our car to charge at a level 2 charging station was like watching latex paint dry. Now I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the 2016 Chevy Volt. In the next 10 to 15 years I probably will be looking at a BEV again. 99 miles EV range is enough! Are you kidding me?

Hi Forever green,
I live about 20mi from Frederick MD. For at least 1 year there is a DCQC at MOM’s organic market, that is free of charge. I have never seen it not functional. There is also a Level 2 charger at the same place. The Mom’s is just off the 85 about 1mi south of the I70.
For the next time.

Proper planning precludes poor performance. 🙂

I’ve taken a few trips with the wife and kids using DCQCs in the middle, and that has be fun.

I do live in western Washington which has a number of level 3 chargers.


It sounds like lack of planning is at fault rather than the car’s range. I could say a similar thing with my car.
I was stuck 48 miles away from home with the family on board when I ran out of diesel. Walking four miles to and from the petrol station was as exciting as watching Hammerite paint dry…
MY fault, not the car’s…
Tell me, did you get it in the neck from the Mrs like I would have done for not watching the gauge?

It all depends on how quickly you can recharge and get going again. If it only takes 10-15 minutes to get another 99 miles I’d probably not care the few times I had to do it, if it takes much longer it would get really annoying quickly. Then I would rather have a 250 mile car and recharge it for an hour.

Why would You charge longer then necessary on road trip???

If You need another 50miles out of Your 200mile BEV, You do not need to charge to 80% at all. 50% will suffice or even 35%, if You can recharge at destination!

Ofc. in winter You need more, so add there 10-20%

Our LEAF is perfect for commuting, in town trips and visiting friends within the range. Which is 60-70% of our total km. The gasser is used once in a blue moon for long drives.
I’ll never get anything ICE-only again.

Which brings the question, having the option to get a BEV with 200 miles of range or a PHEV, does the PHEV make sense at all? How much “more battery” can one buy with the cost of the ICE and its related parts (that horrible exhaust and after burning cleaning treatment).

I am unsure whether there is any future in the complicated marriage of two technologies (hybrids, PHEV’s, EREVS).

I think it’s a matter of shifting the balancing point between EVs and PHEVs. As battery ranges climb, the balance shifts in favor of EVs, as they’ll be able to meet more and more drivers’ needs. But it will take not just a quick charging network, but one that can charge VERY quickly before EVs can completely push out PHEVs.

Even ignoring the ICE Forever crowd (and we know they’re out there), I suspect we’ll see a pretty long lifespan for liquid fuel and PHEVs.

One size does not fit all. Some drivers are satisfied with the Leaf’s ~75 mile range. Other drivers would be satisfied with the ~150 mile real-world range we’ll probably see with the coming nominal “200 mile EVs”. Some drivers won’t be satisfied if they -ever- need to stop to recharge, regardless of the distance. For those, only PHEVs or gas guzzlers make sense. I don’t at all suggest we stop debating the subject, but the reality is that not everyone has the same needs (or at least wants) in a car. We have sedans, SUVs, pickups, minivans, sports cars, and convertibles precisely because people want different things. That’s going to be the case with medium-range vs. long range BEVs vs PHEVs, too. Some EV enthusiasts claim that the PHEV will disappear when BEVs get longer ranges. But I doubt that will happen unless and until we see BEVs on the market which can be recharged to, say, 90% in 10 minutes or less, -and- there are enough super-fast-charge stations around to be able to depend on finding one when you need it. Given the fact that we’ll never need anywhere as many super-fast-charge stations as we currently have gas stations… Read more »

L3 availability is key
In my area there is a single Chademo, zero Combo and two Superchargers in range.
Road tripping with <100 mile range and L2 not an option.

Yep. Tesla is the only one to get this right.

Having owned three EV’s now, starting with the Leaf and ending with a RAV4EV, I agree that 100 miles is the sweet spot. Even living in a big metro we never charge using public chargers, just in the garage at night.

While I’d love to have a Model S, I think a lot of resorces are wasted building such a big battery for those who don’t drive long distances. A 100-mile commuter with quick-charging for emergencies is really the perfect solution for a city car.

Well, a larger battery helps in other ways beyond just the range. For example, it will charge faster than a smaller battery because charging starts fast and then slows down as it fills up (hence all those ’30 minutes to charge to 80%’ claims). And having a larger battery reduces the strain on the battery such that it will lose capacity slower than a smaller battery. And it is much easier to get a lot of power out of a bigger battery.

So a bigger battery is not just for range.


A bigger battery pack isn’t “wasting resources” when it makes the EV more attractive to more buyers, convincing more people to stop using gas/diesel.

And let’s not forget the secondary market. A used BEV with more range left is more likely to replace an existing gas guzzler than a BEV with a short range due to a partially depleted smaller battery pack.

Plus, it’s not just an either/or situation. It’s not just whether or not those BEVs (both new and used) get sold to someone, but -who- they get sold to. To eliminate use of gas/diesel, we really need to target those drivers who drive the most miles per year. And that means drivers who often take longer trips. As more longer-range BEVs appear on the market, they’ll have a better chance of attracting one of those high-mileage drivers.

Plus, with a larger battery – everyday charging isn’t necessary. With any electric car that has no range extender there will be planning involved. Spontaneity is not an option sometimes with a full BEV. Being spoiled for decades and decades with ICE cars having fueling opportunities on every corner – it’s unrealistic to expect the average person to go back to 1920 and plan each trip around how/when gas will be available.

First came the hybrid car. Buyers of hybrids were considered “early adopters” and the ranks of these grew rapidly as that grin from getting 40 MPG wouldn’t go away….Until some realized 100MPG could be realized by adding a plug and a bit larger battery pack. At that point, a few people found out about GM’s Volt project.

GM provided a bridge from hybrid to full battery electric. The jump from one to the next is a leap of faith. Faith that the fledgling BEV market won’t dry up. Faith that someday soon there will be enough charging opportunities to eliminate range anxiety. Faith that someday there will standards and laws that make getting stranded less likely.

Only if BMW can/will produce a car with 100 mile electric range. BMW i3 only has a practical (expected) range of 60-70 in winter time.

100 miles is sufficient for many. But that is no excuse not to offer an OPTION for a larger battery. I’d like to not have any ICE so I’d like a car with 150 to 200 miles of range.

These numbers mean very little. This group is not a random sample. This group is a self-selecting group of people who put their hands up and PAID to be part of this research group.

At best, this could only be extrapolated to somewhat represent EV enthusiasts. It cannot be extrapolated to represent the general public, any more than a Fox Viewer poll on the foxnews website, or an MSNBC text message poll on the Ed Schultz show represent the general public. Way too much self-selection bias.

My problem with this sort of data is that it will be used wrong, and used to try and evade/avoid building longer range EV’s that will appeal more to the general public.

Especially if they use this to try and influence the CARB ZEV credit system, and the extra ZEV points that companies like GM (Bolt) and Tesla will get for having 200+ miles of range for their EV’s.

Given that longer-electric-range EVs such as the Model S, the Bolt, the coming Model ≡, and to a lesser extent the BMW i3, will actually replace more gasoline-powered miles with electricity-powered miles than will shorter-electric-range plug-in EVs, I see nothing at all wrong with them getting more carbon credits. Isn’t that exactly what we should be encouraging?


Nevermind, now I see you were saying the exact opposite of what I thought. If there was an edit button, I’d delete my remark.


No worries, it wasn’t my best worded post.

To expand on your point, yes longer range EV’s displace more miles than shorter range EV’s. Interestingly, this is also true of longer range PHEV’s too. The median Volt driver drives more total miles in EV mode each year than the median Leaf driver does.

So even while Volt drivers still use some gas as a percentage of their driving, the total number of gas miles that they replace with EV miles is actually larger in absolute numbers than short range EV’s.

That’s sort of a strange concept, but it shows how more range is so important to driving more total miles on electricity, like you said.

What a completely pointless article. Allow me to re-state the general claim at the heart of it: “People who like this sort of thing say that this is the sort of thing they like.”

If I start here and run around the circumference of a circle, I wind up back where I started.

“The testers were able to cover 91 percent of their trips with the BMW ActiveE during their trial period” That is an interesting statistic. They measured this in “trips” instead of miles. I wonder what percent of Miles were done? I’m assuming that the reason 9% of “trips” were done with a gas car was because they were longer than their other trips. Math would indicate that this would mean more than 9% of their miles were done in gas cars. puts the Volt at about 75% or so of all total miles being driven in EV mode. They don’t report based upon percent of trips, so we can’t compared directly to the BMW stats. I would venture to give an educated guess that the percent of miles driven in EV mode in a 2016 Volt (new gen) will end up very close to the percentage of miles that these BMW EV drivers experienced. A good PHEV vs. a short range EV + a gas car as a 2nd car for longer trips may just end up driving right around the same percentage of miles in EV mode. Of course a longer range EV + a good PHEV 2nd… Read more »

Saying “90 miles of range is sufficient for most people” is like saying, “Most people in our study found they could get by with less food”.