Man in Electric BMW 1 Series ActiveE Attempts 400-Mile Trip to L.A. in a Day

By Jacob Brown | September 14, 2012
Range anxiety is very real for electric-car drivers. When you have 100 miles to a charge and it takes hours to get the car moving again, that's a problem. Given how limited our electric infrastructure in the U.S. is, that problem turns into a nightmare. Some people simply refuse to believe in range anxiety, though, like Jack Brown—no, we're not related. The driver of a 2012 BMW ActiveE 1 Series, Brown wants to show that it's not hampered by having to plug in every so often to make it to his destination. Today, Brown is attempting to take his BMW ActiveE from Aptos, California—a suburb of Palo Alto—to Los Angeles in a 24-hour period. That's 400 miles for a car with a range of just 95 miles per charge.
Brown, who has already accumulated more than 11,000 miles on his BMW ActiveE over the course of five months, is planning to take Highway 101 and Interstate 5 into Los Angeles, sleeping and charging his car along the way. When he's not doing either those or eating, he'll be blogging at Brown estimates that the trip will cost no more than $18 to get from Point A to Point B, and his car has cost about a penny a day to run. Being a tech guy, he charges his car at home with a solar panel ordinarily, and he uses a free charger at work. In all, Brown says the ActiveE has saved him about $2,000 in gas since he began his two-year lease of it, which isn't too outlandish to fathom given that his other car is a gas-guzzling BMW M3. But as much as he's doing a "virtuous cycle" to gain publicity for going green, it may be BMW that benefits the most from Brown's roadtrip. The automaker is already getting free press for its ActiveE 1 Series, despite the fact Brown pays $499 per month for unlimited mileage. But BMW is also planning to release its i3 and i8 electric cars over the next year for the 2014 model year. The ActiveE's electric motor system is fairly close to what will be powering both cars, albeit in lightweight, purpose-built bodies instead of the heavy steel shell of a BMW 1 Series. This trip also serves another purpose. Brown is doing something that ordinarily costs BMW a lot more money: Long-term, real-world durability testing. BMW really should send him a hand-written thank you letter after his trip. Source: Mercury News