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 |  Jan 20 2012, 7:30 PM

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The BMW ActiveE, or electric 1-Series, is finally available for lease, though there aren’t many up for grabs.

We originally expected this to happen last year, but BMW delayed releasing their electric car until now to streamline the delivery process. The first unit has already been delivered and there are only 700 available in total, meaning anyone interested had better move quickly. Well, sort of.

700 cars isn’t a lot, but at the same time, EVs are proving to be a tough sell with Americans. The ActiveE  closely resembles the 1-Series, but has strange circuit-esque graphics on it that make it look like a company fleet vehicle. The only other exterior difference is a bulge on the hood, which seems silly when you realize such a feature is usually reserved for performance-oriented M cars. In this case, it’s there to make space for the three lithium ion storage cells.

Speaking of performance, it’s simply off the table with this one. A disappointing nine-second 0-60 time and only 170 horsepower, 60 less than the 128i, mean the only thrills you get will be going past gas stations. That won’t even be much fun though, because the car is limited to a 90 mph top speed. At 184 ft-lbs of torque, it also has less pull than a Nissan Leaf, which has 207 ft-lbs.

The ActiveE has about the same range as it’s competition, about 100 miles, but we wish you luck in enjoying any of the classy creature comforts you’ve probably come to love in BMWs while your palms sweat with range anxiety. The ActiveE is also expensive. If you want one of the 700 in your driveway, get ready to pony up $2,250 and $499 per month on a closed 24-month lease. Unless you’re dead set on driving an electric BMW for personal reasons, this might be one to avoid. The only real upside is that the back seats are still intact, unlike the electric MiniE, which became a two seater in the name of going gasless.

GALLERY: 2012 BMW ActiveE

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