BMW is bursting with energy about the all-electric ActiveE coupe. The recruitment process to find appropriate drivers for the ActiveE begins today. Oh, except they aren’t called drivers, they’re “Electronauts.”
ActiveE leases are considered phase two of BMW’s electric car rollout. Before the ActiveE was Mini’s take at an electric vehicle, the Mini E, and now it’s BMW’s turn. A total of 700 ActiveEs will be available for leasing at $2250 down with 24 monthly payments of $499. There’s no purchasing option. For comparison, the 2012 Nissan Leaf can be leased for $2599 down with 36 monthly payments of $379.
BMW is hoping the 700 ActiveE Electronauts/drivers will provide key insight into what it’s like to live with an electric car. By 2013, BMW expects it will be ready to introduce the alternative-powertrain i3 and i8 cars—considered phase three of its three-part electric vehicle plan. Soon, additional ActiveE cars will be made available in markets like China and Europe. For now, the car is open to buyers in Boston, Hartford, Conn., New York, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, and San Francisco.
Interested buyers can find BMW’s ActiveE Web site and complete a reservation form as well as a charging station consultation through AeroVironment. That consultation will help BMW make sure the homes of the potential buyers are capable of handling an AeroVironment charging station and understand how to maintain and operate an electric vehicle.
BMW’s consumer site for the ActiveE gets a little hyperbolic on the car’s importance, but is probably right-on for the target early-adopter audience. The automaker calls the Electronauts “adventurers and explorers” who will redefine “the way we live and the way we move. Starting with 700 cars, two years, and one collective mission that will reshape history.” For comparison, in December alone Nissan sold 954 units of the all-electric Leaf, a car that can be purchased as well as leased.
BMW says its electric vehicle journey started with the 1602 model in 1969. That car, the automaker says, was used in the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Ultimately, we’re looking forward to the upcoming i3 and i8 cars much more than the transitional ActiveE. Have another look at the electric BMW in the photo gallery below.