Tuesday, March 20, 2012

First Impressions

The reservation process for the ActiveE Field Trial was far from ideal, but we're happy to report that ultimately we were allocated one of the 700 U.S. cars and have been driving around our new all-electric 1-series BMW for the last month. I had previously test-driven the Tesla Roadster and Nissan Leaf, but those cars are at such opposite ends of the performance spectrum that it was hard to build up much of a pre-conceived notion of how an all-electric BMW would perform. After 800 miles, I must say I am impressed.  Electric cars are just so much more fun to drive — the smooth, quiet, fast acceleration is hard to compare to an internal combustion engine car. The ActiveE's acceleration and handling are much sportier than I expected.

We took delivery on February 29, 2012, and have been making heavy use of the free electric charging infrastructure in the Bay Area. There are hundreds of employer-provided electric vehicle charging stations within five miles of my house, and dozens of free public EV charging stations within 10 miles, so I haven't been too worried that we don't even have a home charger installed yet. According to my Recargo profile, we've made twenty visits to seven unique charging stations since we got the car, and have never once paid a dime for the electricity. Most of those visits have been just at my office where I charge up the car while working, but we've also made three trips to San Francisco, and found many very nice free public stations.

Given that there are only 700 of these cars in the U.S. it is surprising how many of them we have seen in the Bay Area. I started a mailing list for the 5 "electronauts" at my current employer that have already taken delivery, and I've parked right next to another ActiveE at a public charging station in Portola Valley.

On the way home from work tonight at a stoplight in Mountain View, CA, a car full of Tesla employees gave me a thumbs up and chatted me up about the car. When the green light came, the front passenger was trying to convince me of how amazing the Model S would be, but it should be noted that they drove off in a 3-series.

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