Tuesday, January 31, 2012

BMW Bavaria’s Mistaken Widget.

BMW has a reputation of producing some really fine automobiles and motorbikes. I have to say they simply have gone off-track with their latest car. They are marketing their new Active E as “one car two souls”. I wrote the following email to BMW customer service after receiving a glossy mailing in my Saturday mail.

"I just received your mailing of one car two souls. I must fit into some marketing profile by zip code to have the honor of being on your mailing list. I live in zip code 94920. I am known as the Green Machine as it rhymes with my name Lindsay Leveen. I blog at www.greenexplored.com and write a column titled the Green Machine for our local paper the Tiburon Ark.

Now I will get to the point of my email. Your Active E is just plain dumb as far as saving the planet and I will explain.

The flyer lists a suggested price of $60,375 to calculate the lease payment of $499 a month. This makes sense as a gasoline 128 i costs $30,000 and the Active E has 32 kwh of batteries that cost the extra $30,000. Now I ask you should I lease the 128 i that gets 23 miles per gallon on average for $339 a month or lease the Active E for $499 a month for 24 months with $2,750 cash at signing? The gasoline 128i goes from 0 to 60 mph in 6 seconds and the active E in 9 seconds. Of course in Iowa in winter when it is -10 degrees C outside I will be warm and toasty in the gasoline car but will almost die of exposure in the Active E. But, wait BMW says I only drive 11,500 miles a year and in two years I will buy 1,000 gallons of gasoline and spend $3,500 for this gasoline. With my lease on the standard 128 i at only $339 a month I save $3,840 in the 24 months on the lease payments compared with the Active E. I also have to pay something for electricity so let’s say the Active E needs 0.3 kilowatt hour of DC power per mile or 0.33 kilowatt hour of purchased AC electricity per mile at 10 cents per kilowatt hor. Thus it costs me 3.3 cents per mile for electricity or another $759 for the electricity I will purchase in the two years. Hence my added cost for driving the Active E for the 23,000 miles in 2 years is $1,099.

Now how much carbon dioxide emissions did I save planet earth? 1,000 gallons of gasoline from oil emits something like 25,000 pounds of CO2 from the well to the wheel. The electricity in Iowa is generated with 1.5 pounds of CO2 per kilowatt hour and is delivered to my 220 Volt plug with 1.8 pounds of CO2 emissions per kilowatt hour. Correspondingly I will emit 13,662 pounds of CO2 for my purchased electric power and I save the world 11,338 pounds of CO2 emissions in the two years. This is 5.15 metric tons of CO2 for an extra cost of $1,099. Therefore my carbon tax is $213.39 per metric ton of CO2. But wait I can buy a carbon offset in Europe for only $8 per metric ton. Why would I be dumb and buy the Active E???

The 32 kilowatt hours of batteries would have been better placed in 64 hybrids that each have 0.5 kilowatt hours of batteries to assist the gasoline engine. Each of these hybrid cars will save the owner 200 gallons a year of gasoline or 400 gallons in 2 years. The 64 hybrids will save in total 25,600 gallons of gasoline in two years. The world will have 640,000 pounds less of CO2 emissions. This equals 290.9 metric tons. As BMW wants to charge me $213.39 per metric ton of CO2 as my added cost for operating an Active E versus the gasoline car that is much faster, I suggest BMW donate 290.9 times $213.39 or $62,075 to the World Wildlife Fund for each Active E you sell. This is the price BMW should pay for having hogged the lithium in the 32 kilowatt hour batteries for a single Active E and not sharing this lithium with 64 others to improve their gas mileage.

Note you share the Gangrene award with Nissan, Tesla, Fisker and the other Green Fake Outs for promoting this plug in nonsense. Shame on BMW for this junk! Back in the 70s I owned a BMW Bavaria and it was a great car."