Buying a BMW i3? Own a ActiveE Already? Save 35% on Solar

MAY 10 2012 BY STAFF 15

The BMW i3 all electric car, will launch in late 2013, but the technology inside it is currently being field tested in a huge  fleet of over 1,100 leased ActiveE, and previously to that, in 600 leased MINI E cars.

Now BMW and Real Goods Solar have teamed up to offer those current drivers of the ActiveE (and previous drivers of the MINI E), along with any future i3 owners a “special discount” of approximately 35% on a solar system installation. with Real Goods Solar.

BMW sees this as a way to encourage the change into green energy, and to offer “sustainable, premium mobility solutions”, at least according to BMW Manager of Electric Vehicles of BMW of North America, Rich Steinberg.

“Solar power is a natural fit for electric vehicle owners looking for a more sustainable lifestyle,” explained Real Goods Solar CEO, Bill Yearsley, “We are delighted to partner with BMW of North America to deliver Real Goods’ award-winning design and installation services to help ActiveE drivers harness the power of the sun to fuel their new sports car.”

The company also added, “Real Goods Power Savings Plans reduce initial investment costs to a minimum and include premium industry products, including modules manufactured in America, and a proprietary online monitoring system, which includes the ability to track the performance of their solar system on the web or through an iPhone application.”

The i3 will feature a 130 kW/170 HP electric motor, which will drive the rear wheels, and has an expected range of about 100 miles on a 22kWh pack.  However, the EPA adjusted rating will likely be in the low 90s, north of the Nissan LEAF and Ford Focus.  The car will retail slightly above the level of those domestic brands.

BMW Press Release

(Updated:  output numbers should have read 130kW, not 130 hp/concept specs-fixed, thx to Tom!)

Current BMW Active E Program on the Roads

Prior to the ActiveE There was a Fleet of 600 MINI Es

Categories: BMW


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15 Comments on "Buying a BMW i3? Own a ActiveE Already? Save 35% on Solar"

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Not sure you will get an honest 35% of a install, but I am not going to mention the ActiveE discount until the job is quoted and find out what they say after the fact A little money saved is a little money saved

You did have the battery size right the first time though! The ActiveE has a 32kWh battery pack but the i3 will have a 22kWh pack yet offer basically the exact same range.

The ActiveE, being a retrofitted ICE conversion, isn’t very efficient as far as EV’s go since it weighs 4,001lbs. The i3 will weigh 2,756lbs and have the exact same powertrain as the ActiveE (that’s what the ActiveE program is for, to filed test all the i3’s components) except for a smaller battery pack.

I’ll be doing an ActiveE and an i3 post for Inside EV’s soon, I already promised Lyle as soon as I have the time to put it together for you. 🙂

Good news Tom, I look forward to your posts and maybe coming onboard in some capacity!

You know your stuff about (and behind) BMWs that is for sure, and that is the kind of specialization that really makes for great and insightful reading…and what would be a great plus to the site.

I confess I’ve checked out your own personal blog once or twice and have enjoyed the read. Anyone else interested in the ActiveE program should really check it out:

Thanks Jay. I look forward to contributing here and being part of the site.

Since were on the i3 topic here, you can take a look at my i3 blog if you’d like also:


I don’t get what BMW is doing unless they are trying to follow GM with their leased EV1. What are they trying to judge. – range anxiety? Or maybe the highest lease rate that people will pay for a German EV.

Imagine if GM had leased out 1000 Malibu’s with ‘Volt Inside’ for 600 a month with the intention of getting feed back -really???

How can the 22KWH pack go 90 miles? How much of it are they going to use?


We are currently using 87.5% of the 32kWh battery in our ActiveE’s since 28kWh’s are usable. So lets say BMW ups it to 90% then we’re looking at 19.8kWh usable. They would need an efficiency of 4.79 mi/kWh to be EPA rated at 95 miles per charge. The ActiveE has was EPA certified at 94mpc so it has about a 3.4 mi/kWh efficiency rating and it is a converted ICE platform and is very heavy(4,001lbs). The i3 weighs 2,750lbs which is about a third less, will have a lower cd and was designed from the ground up for efficient performance. It has the same components as the ActiveE(motor, power electronics, onboard charger, battery modules, etc) except some are being improved upon because of findings that came out the the ActiveE project. So basically they need to improve the efficiency from the ActiveE by 30% in a car that weighs more than 30% less, has better aerodynamics and has been designed from the ground up to be an efficient car, unlike the ActiveE that’s just a heavy conversion. BMW has learned so much from these two programs, I can tell you that for sure. I communicate with many of the BMW… Read more »
I’m not sure if I am seeing it. I’m confident the rating will be higher than the LEAF and Focus Electric, but if I was a betting man (and I have been known to place the odd wager), I would say low 80s on the EPA sounds about right. Even assuming a 20 kWh usable pack (which sounds a little scary), a 4.8mi/kWh I think is just too high to be achieved. The weight is light at 2,700lbs, about 600 less than the LEAF (on 21 kWH of usable pack) but that isn’t the issue with the EPA, its mileage at highway speed. And at 65 mph, your weight is no one near as big a factor as CdA. The i3, unlike the i8, is not the most efficient of drag design, I put the cd somewhere around .29 if I had to hazard a guess (which would still be great for a regular car). However, where the real issue I see popping up is that the i3 is ridiculously wide compared to other EVs, the fact it is almost 80 inches wide, when cars like the LEAF/Volt/i-MiEV are much narrower (70/69/63) is going to make its CdA very poor.… Read more »

It’s not 79″ wide as reported, I’ve measured one. It’s 79″ including the side mirrors so in reality it’s about as wide as a LEAF.
It’s going to be a while till the official numbers are posted, but I have spoke to people working on it and people that have driven it and they are confident it will have a 90+ EPA rating.
I told one VERY high level BMW exec directly “If it has a sub 85 EPA range you are DOA” and he just smiled and said “We’re smarter than that Tom” We’ll see….

Good stuff.

If it is the case that the measurement is off my 8-9 inches, and it is more inline with its peers, than it has a shot at getting a rating starting with a 9.

No question in my mind that it is going to deliver ‘best in class’ efficiency in the city, if it can get on even footing with the other players above 60mph, it will be a really nice achievement.

I just did a blog post about range and premium EV’s yesterday:

Nice read, great stuff actually. I agree with you pretty much across the board. I will say that the Infiniti concept shown is definitely not the car that will be produced, as far as specifications go. Like yourself, I had a lot of experience with people associated with the project at Nissan/AESC. I have a piece on the backburner about the new pack/specs/range etc., but I don’t know when I will get it out…a lot of ‘other’ considerations to take into account, you know what I mean, (= I think the Inifiniti is the competition here, but I am not convinced the brand has enough stored up cache to convert BMW i3 buyers. Tesla is certainly the premium brand in the EV segment, but as long as BMW prices the i3 well below it, that should minimize comparisons between the two. The ELR will take some business away from the i3, probably a decent share, but only in the US market, I don’t see it having any impact gloablly…if they offer it at all. The biggest obstacle to the i3 is probably that the bar/mindset for a ‘100 mile’ EV has been set. Everyone has one, or one in development.… Read more »

You might be right about being lumped into the ‘100 mile’ electric cars, but if so I think it’s more perception than reality. Lets say for argument the i3 has a 92 mile per charge EPA rating(my personal guess). It will then have 16 miles or 24% more range than a Focus EV, 19 miles or 26% more than a LEAF and 30 miles or 48% more than an iMiEV. All of these will cost less, although the FFE will only be a couple thousand less. What I’m saying is 24% and 26% (LEAF & FFE) is really a lot more and then combine it with 7.7kW charging and the i3 should be a lot more versatile – range wise. However you may be right about the range perception. That’s why I’ve been very vocal to my BMW contacts about making sure it has an EPA rating OVER 90mpc.
$39,000 would really surprise me. My guess is $43,500. Even at that I doubt they’ll make money on it with all the carbon fiber and electronics it will have. We have a lot of time to speculate about this. I’m not expecting too much info until next spring unfortunately.