BMW’s ActiveE 1-series electric coupe has finally gone from concept to reality. The German manufacturer has just announced plans to distribute 1,000 of the vehicles to drivers across the U.S, Europe and China. As with the MINI E, the BMW Active E is an electric test vehicle developed by the BMW Group to get real-world insights from people using electric cars. Eventually, of course, all this research is going to be used towards creating the ultimate Megacity Vehicle (MCV), which we should see in 2013.

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Aesthetically, the four-seater Active E looks much like its internal combustion engine counterpart, barring a restyled bumper and a distinctive bonnet bulge to allow for the electric drivetrain. The interior features gray leather contrasted with blue stitching. With 168 horse power, the car can go from 0-60mph in 9 seconds and it has a top speed limited to 90mph. The car is only a test version right now, so all those numbers are likely to change eventually.

The ActiveE is designed so that its “gas” pedal disengages the electric motor when the driver starts letting up on the accelerator, saving battery life. Regenerative braking starts when the driver takes his or her foot off the pedal completely. Complete recharging takes about 5 hours from a 240v socket, and drivers can get an extra 40 miles if they plug in for just an hour.

The car comes with BMW’s ConnectedDrive which allows you to control and view the car’s temperature settings and battery life from any computer device using BMW ConnectedDrive software. It also provides key research information to engineers in Munich.

Via Wired