Guest Post: Goodbye BMW ActiveE, Hello RAV4 EV

I’ve always been one to love technology and enjoy being an early adopter….provided, I can afford it. 🙂  It was based on this love of technology, the ability to hopefully make a difference in future automotive development combined with a added bonus of saving money on my fuel costs, (when gas runs 4.00 a gallon I’m right around $350.00 a month or more) which led us to apply to drive the MINI E back in 2009.
Todd and his wife Kari were part of the original test fleet MiniE drivers.

Todd and his wife Kari were part of the original test fleet MiniE drivers.

My wife and I had never drove or even rode in a Mini Cooper of any type before applying to participate in the field trial. I’d say after one or two days of driving the MINI E, we were hooked on driving electric. We ended up putting just over 50,000 miles on the MINI E during our time with it.
The MINI E led to the ActiveE.  We discovered with the MINI E, that the only time we didn’t drive it was when the three of us needed to go somewhere together.  Unlike the ActiveE, it didn’t have a back seat due to the battery pack and thus was a two passenger vehicle. When the ActiveE arrived, we quickly sold our Ford Freestyle 7 passenger crossover and the ActiveE became our one and only car for the next 24 months.
Todd Crook has been the custodian of a BMW ActiveE for the past few years under BMW's Electronaut lease program.

Todd  has been the custodian of a BMW ActiveE for the past few years under BMW’s Electronaut lease program.

We put just shy of 44,000 miles on the ActiveE over those two years and loved every mile.  On the few times we took a trip outside the range of the ActiveE, we rented a car.  As one who loves to drive different cars, this has proved to be a fun way to do that and economical too.

All intentions were to follow this through to the finish line with the i3.  Although BMW had announced the purchase price a while back, we only found out the lease rates on Saturday January 11th.  As my lease was one of the first ones coming up, I had been researching alternative vehicles just in case the numbers came in high.  Fortunately, here in California we have various all electric choices.

We had looked forward to the i3 and it was with a sad heart we turned the ActiveE in at the end of our lease on Wednesday January 15th.

Todd is now passing on his love of EVs to the next generation.

Todd is now passing on his love of EVs to the next generation.

While the i3 was always our first choice, the three others on our list were the Chevrolet Spark EV, the Ford Focus EV and the Toyota Rav4 EV.  All three alternatives had various pluses and minuses but we’d settled on the Toyota Rav4 EV as the one to go with if needed.  It provided a nice balance of space, range and a great lease rate.  When I received the lease rates for the i3, I knew instantly there was no way we could swing those kinds of numbers.  I quickly booked a time to see the Toyota Rav4 EV with my wife and daughter to make sure they approved and while they too had looked forward to the i3 agreed it was a nice economical compromise.

Life has its turns and I’m happy to say that the turn that led to the MINI E followed by the ActiveE forever changed our family’s perspective on transportation.  We learned it was possible to have a blast driving, yet save money on fuel costs and not pollute all at the same time.  We’ve made friends with folks we never would have met, if it hadn’t been for the two BMW field trials.


With the BMW ActiveE handed back at the end of its lease, Todd settled on a RAV4 EV as his family’s next plug-in ride.

We have a lot to be thankful for and very grateful that BMW chose us as one of the chosen few back when it all started with the MINI E.

Both my wife and I were able to drive the i3 in Los Angeles and loved it.  I was fortunate enough to drive it twice.  Wow, what a great package!  What BMW has accomplished in a relatively short amount of time is to be commended. 

Our choosing not to go forward with the i3 is strictly due to the financial numbers we had to work with as our lease wound down.  We look forward to moving back into an i3, i4 , i5 or i? in the future.  Until then, we continue to support everything BMW has accomplished with a purpose built all electric vehicle and continue to spread the joy of driving all electric.

Todd Crook is one of BMW’s original group of MINI-E lessees. and has taken part in both the MINI-E and ActiveE lease programs. He lives in Long Beach, CA with his young family, and recently became one of the first BMW ActiveE ‘Electronauts’ to hand his car back at the end of its lease.  We thank Todd for sharing his experiences as a BMW Electronaut with us. 


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