BMW kicks off EV Electronauts program

Calling all Electronauts! Come in Electronauts! Please report at once to the BMW Mothership for an important announcement!

Last fall we reported on BMW’s marketing campaign surrounding the launch of the German automaker’s all-electric ActiveE sedan. Now, according to a recent release, the active recruitment of specially selected ActiveE lessees is officially under way.

BMW is looking for 700 brave souls to “become one of the first to drive the all-new, all-electric BMW ActiveE, and join us in the next frontier.” The company hopes to find a customer who is a “front runner of innovation, and an advocate for sustainability. A surveyor of the present, and a proponent of the future.”

What this all means is that BMW is looking for customers to provide feedback during the two-year life of the lease.

Potential Electronauts must first register with BMW and then acquire a quote from BMW’s charging station installer, AeroVironment. When you accept AeroViroment’s installation quote you’ll learn whether you’re eligible to become one of the chosen 700 Electronauts.

Lease rates for the ActiveE are $2,250 down and $499 a month for a closed-end (meaning you must give the car back), two-year lease. The lease will cover all parts and maintenance. And while we’ve been assured that the selection of Electronauts will be a very competitive process, there a plenty of cars available on a first-come, first served basis.

Electronaut duties include regular feedback sessions with BMW engineers as well as becoming participants in the BMW ActiveE Field Trial. Beginning in early 2012 and taking place in the U.S., Europe and China, the BMW ActiveE Field Trial will include more than 1,100 BMW ActiveE vehicles, produced at BMW’s plant in Leipzig, Germany.

Throughout the field trial, car and driver-generated data and anecdotal feedback from the Electronauts will be collected by BMW to deepen its knowledge about the everyday use of electric vehicles (EVs) and to provide actionable insights into electric mobility in urban environments. 

Once the field trial commences, information collected from the Electronauts will be made available for all EV enthusiasts and media at a website.

BMW hopes to gather not only valuable information about the EV itself, but also about changing driving habits, how the car fits into lifestyles and what improvements can be added to the owner experience.

Car deliveries are expected to begin in early 2012.

* Steve Duda, EarthTechling