BMW ActiveE recall will not affect London 2012 Olympic fleet

Problems isolated to U.S. vehicles, carmaker confirms

By Will Dron on July 18, 2012 12:22 PM

BMW has confirmed that power steering safety issues in the ActiveE pure-electric car will not affect the 160 ActiveEs on duty during the London 2012 Olympics.

The ActiveE is effectively an electrically-powered 1 Series saloon, built to test the electric drivetrain which will be used in the highly-anticipated BMW i3. Earlier this month, the American National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a bulletin stating that BMW was recalling certain 2011 ActiveEs and 2012 Z4 roadsters because “variations in electrical current may occur within the electric power steering assistance system, leading to sudden loss of power steering assistance”.

It was pointed out that a sudden loss of power steering would increase the steering effort required to control the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash. At the time, it was announced that 162 of the 700 US-based ActiveEs were affected by the recall. Lessees were to be notified, with repairs taking place at local dealerships.

BMW is trialling a further 400 ActiveEs in Europe and China, with 160 currently in East London, poised for duty as part of the 4,000-strong BMW Olympic fleet. With the ActiveE having such a high-profile role to perform over the coming months – the Olympics kick off in just nine days’ time – TheChargingPoint.com asked BMW Great Britain if it was concerned that any of its ActiveEs might be affected. The good news for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG), operating the BMW fleet, is that the UK vehicles have received a clean bill of health.

LOCOG set a tough target of 120 grams of CO2 per kilometre, across the entire Olympic vehicle fleet – part of the goal of making London 2012 the “most sustainable Games ever”. With the help of the 160 ActiveEs and an additional 40 MINI Es, which produce zero emissions at the tailpipe, along with 5-Series ActiveHybrids and ultra frugal ‘EfficientDynamics’ versions of its 3-Series, BMW achieved an average of 116g/km CO2 – something LOCOG’s Jonathan Edwards, CBE described to TheChargingPoint.com as “phenomenal”, given the types of cars involved.

The ActiveE is designed and built entirely by BMW, with the exception of the battery cells. It packs a liquid-cooled 32kWh lithium ion battery (8kWh larger than the Nissan LEAF’s) split into three parts which allow for a 50:50 front-rear weight distribution. With a 127kW (170bhp) electric motor, the claimed 0-62mph time is nine seconds. For more information, take a look at our first drive report here.