Wednesday, August 3, 2011

BMW ActiveE offers lower total cost.

I have driven 31,000 miles in a little over two years, powered by only the sun. I love saying that!

Last week BMW showed details about the upcoming BMW i3 and BMW i8. As a Mini-E driver, I know the role the Mini-E drivers are playing in validating and bringing forward this technology. As a driver, I would have no problem at all telling you horror stories about the car if warranted, however the Mini-E has been a blast to drive, problem free, and the most fun, best car I have driven in 32 years on the road.

Around December, my wife Julie will become the driver of the phase two car which is the BMW ActiveE, a 1 series coupe which will serve as a “development mule” carrying and testing in real world conditions over millions of miles, the future running gear of the BMW i3.

While it’s not inexpensive to be part of this field trial, and the i3 and i8 will be no less expensive, I thought I would do my best to put the cost into perspective compared to driving my previous car, a Volvo S60R which I drove for four years and 58,000 miles. The Volvo was a great car and the last of 4 Volvo’s over 16 years that I leased/owned. In my case, I lease 65% of the time and buy 35% of the time. If I were given the choice of the S60R or the electric Mini-E same-same, the Mini-E would be my choice by a long shot.
My total monthly cost for the Volvo S 60:

Volvo S60 R

36 month lease $2500 down payment = $ 69 a month
Lease payments with tax $479
Insurance $ 89
Maintenance and repair $140 (tires and brakes were very expensive)
Gas $260
End of lease cost $30 (extra mileage)

Total $1067 per month

My total cost of the Mini-E:

BMW Mini-E

30 months, 11 month lease at $930 (first month free), 18month lease at $640 no down payment.
Average lease payment with tax $730
Insurance $26
Maintanace and repair $0
Solar Electricity $25 ($7500 divided by 25 years divided by 12months)
End of Lease cost $0

Total $781

Now comparing 5 years of driving the Volvo(s) S60, which admittedly are a very nice car but by no means extravagant, and I think arguably is considered in the same class as the BMW 1 series the cost are:

Volvo $1067 per month (as above)

BMW ActiveE

Lease inception fee spread over 24 months $83
24month lease at $535 tax included
Insurance $89 (both liability and collision)
Maintenance and repair $0
Solar Electricity $25 ($7500 divided by 25 years divided by 12months)
End of Lease cost $0
Total cost $732 per month

That’s a difference of $335 a month lower or $20,100 lower total cost over 60 months for the ActiveE and Mini-E.

The lesson in this is that while you may enjoy a low car payment or lease payment for a comparable gas car to the BMW ActiveE, you must also add the cost of gas (gas is expensive!) repairs, insurance, origination fees, etc. to get your total monthly cost. I think you might be surprised at how well the electric car (any electric car) does in the total cost department. Your results may be higher or lower than mine, but this is my real world experience of the cars I drove before the Mini-E and the ActiveE.

See how it stacks up for you when you compare the total monthly cost of your car to an ActiveE. I am looking forward to the BMW I3 and i8.

Bravo BMW
Mini-E # 183, 31,000 sunshine powered miles.


  1. Peder,
    Interesting and revealing comparison. Of course, as I'm sure you're aware, you're comparing relative high-end gas cars to an EV here. You could argue that your EV is also somewhat "high end", though not as high end as a Roadster :-)

  2. I agree, but the comparison of a Volvo and a BMW is a good one. Both are higher end cars. If a person is considering such a car, the ActiveE is a good proposition.

    It is also my experiance and past car so it is what it is.

    Keep on keeping on and love your blog!


  3. Fides Invest AG bietet Autoleasing ohne Anzahlung. Ist Ihr Kredit-Rating ist nicht über jeden Zweifel erhaben? Wenn Ihr Budget es zulässt, können Sie ein Auto bei uns leasen.