Photo Comparison: BMW ActiveE Next To BMW i3


Immediately upon viewing the BMW i3 next to the BMW ActiveE, our thought was “wow, the i3 is a boat.”

Check out these photos of the i3 and ActiveE and then let us know what your initial reaction is in Comments below.

 Image Credits: Tom Moloughney

BMW ActiveE Next To BMW i3

BMW ActiveE Next To BMW i3

BMW ActiveE Next To BMW i3

BMW ActiveE Next To BMW i3

Category: BMW

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29 responses to "Photo Comparison: BMW ActiveE Next To BMW i3"
  1. David Murray says:

    The i3 is very tall. I noticed this when I test-drove one recently. It’s almost like a CUV.

    1. Mint says:

      The battery pack in the floor is quite thick. Judging by pictures, it lifts the occupants 7-8 inches off the floor.

      The specs list the i3 as 62.1 inches tall while the 1 series is 55.9 inches tall, so headroom is probably comparable.

      But I can certainly see that the hatch body, one less seat in the back, and open leg space all make the i3 feel roomier.

      1. Aaron says:

        The step-in on the i3 is a LOT higher than I would expect. I agree with David — it’s very much like a CUV than a tiny car.

  2. DonC says:

    YIKES! The i3 is a lot larger than I thought. That’s a good thing. I’ve seen a couple on the road and they looked larger than I expected from the spec sheet. This gives a good idea why.

    Doesn’t look like a rear wheel drive car!

    1. Aaron says:

      Does the i-MiEV look like a rear-wheel drive car either?

      1. Brian says:

        The i-MiEV doesn’t even look like a real car. It looks like a jelly bean with wheels.

        1. BraveLilToaster says:

          I think it looks as if the design team at Mitsubishi was going out of their way to live up to the “all electric cars are ugly” meme.

  3. The i3 has so much more interior room than the ActiveE did. Plus it has a usable cargo area unlike the ActiveE which has its trunk cut in half to accommodate the power electronics.

    This is one of the reasons I would never go back to the ActiveE after driving the i3 for a while. It’s just a thoroughly better electric car in my opinion.

    1. Aaron says:

      That ActiveE must have been a tiny car inside, then. The i3 felt very cramped inside, even compared to my i-MiEV. Especially the back seat.

      1. Really? says:

        You must be a giant or something.

        I had my coworkers ride with me, even in the back seat, 6’2″ guy was quite comfortable and said it was very spacious.

        1. vdiv says:

          Yeah, no.

      2. MTN Ranger says:

        The i3 was very open and spacious for me on my test drive.

  4. Bianco says:

    A smurf-bus from the future 😉

  5. Peder says:

    It’s amazing how it got larger in every interior dimension headroom, legroom, back seat room, width, storage etc. as compared to the BMW ActiveE while shedding 1350 lbs in weight.

    It also is two seconds faster 0-60.
    Larger, lighter, faster.

    1. Tim says:

      Yet the i3 looks like crap. I’d take the Active-E.

  6. cab says:

    How did it compare to the mini-E , Tom? Did the battery encroach there as well (I assume so)?

    1. The MINI-E battery took up the entire back seating area cab. It was a two-seater.

  7. Tesla Fan says:

    What interior do you have Tom?

    1. I have the Tera World, here’s a pic. The interior is extremely spacious considering the small exterior dimensions:

      Link to pic because original is too large to fit in UI:

  8. James says:

    i3 form-factor is definitely “CUV” – but it’s utility ( seats 4, small cargo area with all seats in upright position ) more suits empty nesters or a single person as a commuter car – not a family car.

    BMW could have gone the Tesla route and used batteries that allowed for a thin pack that also acted as the platform for the vehicle. Instead, they went with a tall pack and complex aluminum frame. ???. Admittedly, the CUV style is big in the USA – but it’s utility reminds more of a HONDA ELEMENT – which didn’t sell too well, than a CRV, which does. Seating for 4 and a higher coefficient of drag are the result. So perhaps the plastic sandwich ply-covered with thin sheets of carbon fiber was a whole lot more research for building lighter high-profit models like their plentiful iCE cars and SUVs, and less for a revolutionary BEV.

    This car would shine in Europe, where no-emissions zones are popping up, and small city cars abound. Here in the USA we drive further and need more versatility. With ReX, this car is over $50,000, folks. THAT’S A WHOLE LOT FOR A LEAF-Esque city car/commuter
    that truly needs to be a 2nd, 3rd or 4th car!
    If you’re a German car nut and want to make a green statement at your neighborhood association or country club – I suppose that’ll amount to 12,000 or so sales per year in the USA until the shine wears off.

    Another first impression from the outside is: “Man! those are HUGE WHEELS!”. True, the
    quirky shape benefits from the big wheels as they make the car interestingly trendy to look at ( at least from the side ). Generally, big wheels and tires with small sidewalls does not make a comfortable ride. In this case, I like the choice BMW made because most eco, or high mpg cars opt for smaller diameter wheels for lower profile and better aero. Again – it begs the question: “What if they did opt for go-kart tires and wheels – would the electric range be more B-Klasse Electric? The loss of compliance by going with such small sidewalls is a head-scratcher. Apparently, they met comfort goals by softening the spring rate – but how does that hurt total handling limits overall? I know they went really narrow on the tires too. So the whole buggy-without-the-horse analogy seems to be a big factor here.

    Last- as an engineering exercise, I’m sure it
    put some wear and tear on a few supercomputers and took BMW engineers a good deal of time to get it right. But was it a whole lot of ado about nothing? For – as I’ve stated here a lot – The car is really a quicker LEAF with one less seat for passengers in the rear, and very limited range. Add expensive body repair that can only be done by a BMW dealer ( expensive! ), a range-extender option that doesn’t add much range or practicality, and rear doors that have to be open/shut in a particular order that will become a giant headache for i3 owners over time — and I just don’t get why BMW built this car at all.

    1. James says:

      Before someone comments that the narrow tire/wheel profile gets the same aero benefit as a shorter, wider one…I get that, but the sheer expense and effort put into making such a configuration handle adequately ( esp. to BMW standards ) means that cost tranfers to the consumer – meaning YOU AND ME!…

      I wouldn’t pay the price for all that engineering that doesn’t equate to a better BEV. It’s “cool”…but not really practical IN MANY WAYS I’ve listed. And not $50,000-cool.

    2. BraveLilToaster says:

      “LEAF-Esque city car/commuter
      that truly needs to be a 2nd, 3rd or 4th car!”

      Nearly everyone who has a Leaf or similar electric “commuter” car, says they hardly use their “first” gas car except for – what do you know! – that rare road trip that needs a car with long range.

      So essentially you’re just tossing out twopenny opinions from a position of ignorance.

      These “commuter” cars aren’t *second* cars. They’re first cars. It’s that other car in the garage that gets second fiddle most of the time.

      1. Tummy says:

        Although details haven’t been finalized, BMW’s Alternate Mobility Program promises a BMW ICE loaner/rental for when you do need to go on a road trip.

      2. James says:

        So Tummy,….basically, I’m “ignorant”, yet you think i3 is to LEAF what 3 Series is to Sentra! LOL 🙂

        Try elaborating on THAT one, my “expert” friend, my sad, ignorant self needs to be educated!

        BMW’s future ICE lending scheme sounds ridiculously inconvenient and expensive.

    3. Tummy says:

      You probably don’t understand why BMW builds 3 series when a Nissan Sentra is essentially the same size, has four wheels, an engine and is a whole lot cheaper.

      1. James says:

        haha… you’re funny.

        You compare two completely different animals in Sentra and 3 Series. Whilst both ICE cars with a similar footprint – they were designed and built for two completely different buyers.

        i3 and LEAF are not so different. They both were designed to allow a person looking for a car to drive gas free. In that main purpose for both vehicles – one costs $50,000, and the other $29,000

        before EV tax refunds.

        So – since these two cars have very similar range…you say the added “value” of the i3 is that it is slightly quicker, or may handle better ( this is debatable, in fact ). Otherwise, you are saying people who buy an EV will get that value by owning the plastic laminate sandwich ( CFRP ), aluminum, framed, future-styled i3. But why? The tech in making it lightweight transfers to savings to BMW, not you. Why? It allows BMW to see 80 mile range by building in a smaller battery pack! How does this benefit a person spending $50,000+?

        So – you see…I understand you may not know a whole lot about cars. I also understand you may be a big fan of cars coming from Munich, and mesmerized by that propeller logo…But calling LEAF a Sentra, and i3 a 3 Series is silly, indeed.

        1. James says:

          And Tummy – obviously if í3 is quicker than a LEAF or Volt, and thus, you punch it…you’re decreasing EV range. And that is why you buy an EV: to kiss gas goodbye and to
          drive clean and quiet, correct? So if you buy i3 to go faster than a LEAF – you’re in fact defeating the purpose of an EV in the first place. So now your i3 has a range of 60 miles, 50 miles, or 40 miles…So how does
          that make it smart?

          Sentra was built to economize. 3 Series expensive and built to drive fast with handling closer to a sports machine. How
          would those coincide with LEAF and i3?

          Again. Explain.

  9. James says:

    Good side: Check out the extremely short overhangs to the corners of the vehicle! Boy!, those are short! One amazing feat Toyota achieved, is near exact inside dimension of a Camry from a Prius using the same stretch the wheels to the corners approach. i3’s result should be much more inside room as was in Prius – but, I think this made more room for battery pack, instead.

    Side profile is MUCH more “small minivan” than CUV. Add 16″-18″ to i3’s wheelbase and
    you have a 2015 Sienna or Odyssey with shorter overhangs. Since popularity of minivans is decreasing in North America – again, this practical shape may not click with the masses who believe an AWD message with a longer hood and brawny-esque style flourishes means one is not a Soccer Mom nor one who has kissed “being sexy” goodbye.

    Crazy to me how CUVs/SUVs sell for those reasons but that is what the marketing folks tell us. 100,000s of people were sold the bill of goods that station wagons were for grandpas and a taller station wagon coined SUV meant they were “sporty”. Go figure!

  10. Nix says:

    My local dealership had the i3 set up next to the new Mini Cooper at the launch party. That was a huge shocker! The i3 was positively gigantic compared to the Mini.