Based on the BMW 1 Series the ActiveE is an electric vehicle using similar technology to that found in its Mini cousin, the MiniE, and will be part of a US trial where the vehicle will be leased to consumers in what the German marque refers to as a "large-scale electric vehicle test program."
Unlike the Mini E, the 1 Series-based ActiveE is rear-wheel-drive and actually develops less power and torque at 127kW/250Nm - a curious move considering the car also weight some 317kg more (1,770kg).
According to BMW engineers have apparently worked to make the ActiveE's synchronous electric motor's torque curve behave more like an internal combustion engine - with thrust building as you approach higher engine speeds and then tapering off gently.
BMW is also claiming 0-100km/h times of around 8.5 seconds with a top speed of 145km/h, ideal for city commuting.
Range is expected to be approximately 160 kilometres with a recharge time of 4.5 hours using a high-current charging box. As on the Nissan Leaf, you'll be able to monitor the electric car's state of charge via an app on your mobile phone.
The lithium-ion battery pack was developed by BMW's partner SB LiMotive, a joint venture between Bosch and Samsung SDI. It's packaged in the location formerly occupied by the 1 Series' prop shaft. Cargo capacity has also been reduced thanks to the electric motor's position though cabin area remains unchanged.
The BMW 1 Series will be officially unveiled at next year's Detroit Motor Show. There is no word yet on pricing.