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The ActiveE Field Trial: The Final Chapter

After the introduction of BMW i3 will the majority of ActiveE Electronauts stay or leave the brand?

The ActiveE field trial consists of 700 vehicles and drivers, which allowed BMW to learn and collect data from about 15 million real-world miles their owners have collectively driven to date. The ActiveE could be described as a very nicely executed engineering test mule, which carries an early version of the BMW i3 drivertrain.

I am probably not alone if I say that it's been a privilege being a part of the process, which culminated in the creation of the i3. I think that many Electronauts feel the same way, and are appreciative of the overall experience. Should some of them decide to leave the brand, hopefully they will do so on a positive note, and remember that everyone involved helped make a difference in a program, which will have a lasting legacy.

Personally, I am of the opinion that BMW should be commended for running the field trial.

Since the demand for the i3 appears to be larger than the production capacity, it's understandable if BMW won't include too many freebies in the pre-announced EE package, but it's disappointing nonetheless. I believe that including a free tech package, the driving or parking assistant or nicer rims would not have been cost prohibitive.

Understandably, it would have been something above and beyond, a nice gesture, and a sign of goodwill. This would likely have induced more Electronauts to stay with the brand, and continue to be advocates and promoters of BMW's EV program.

Perhaps BMW does not need Electrounauts anymore, and their EV technology will sell virtually by itself. Should that be the case, it would have been nice, if the communication was a bit clearer and Electronauts were not kept in the lurch this long. It's always better to have a clean cut. Whether we like it or not, the last interaction is what we often remember the most.

Written by George Betak
EV Advocate