Shame on me – I don’t even deserve that title, and I call myself German. Last weekend was the first time I could actually sit down and look at what other ActiveE owners were doing on the BMW sponsored online forum. Not only did I miss out on a gathering of Electronauts, I was also completely ignorant of all the enthusiasm my fellow Electronauts profess by discussing every aspect of the car, trying to outdo each other in highest mileage driven, longest distance per charge and so on. So what, in absence of all the excitement, has my life been like?
I really miss my trunk. No surprise, but the ActiveE is a single-purpose car clashing with my multi-faceted life. Driving an ActiveE IS a sacrifice in a number of ways. But I knew that, I agreed, so I’ll stop whining. Still wish they’d chosen an X5 as the base vehicle.
Other than my fellow Electronauts I am playing it safe: Anything above 80 miles total driving distance is out. I have neither the time nor the curiosity to look for charging stations elsewhere – my car can not dictate or slow down my daily schedule. Its purpose is to serve me, not the other way round. So sorry, my fellow Electronauts, I truly admire your enthusiasm, but I am not playing.
On the upside, I’ve never been so much at the center of attention (on public roads) as I am now. I frequently get the “thumbs up” from other drivers ranging from commercial vans to exotic sports cars. Takes some getting used to – at first I kept asking myself “Do I know you?”, but it’s all just part of my day by now. I wonder if I will miss this one day – would you? Alas, with great bling comes great responsibility: what are the odds of me dissolving into the crowd like my grey Prius did (no, I don’t want it back)? What are the odds of people remembering exactly who just misbehaved (allegedly…), speeded, went through a “Jersey Yellow” light and such? It may be paranoia but I am actually driving more consciously now, knowing that I am probably not going to wiggle my way out of any incident like that.
So it’s a social event, mostly:
- The security lady at the gate of a parking lot I frequently use making it a point of keeping the prime spot reserved for me so she can enjoy the view (letting her sit in the car once probably helped);
- The valet forgetting to take his tip because he was temporarily enjoying his job a lot;
- The fellow at the car wash exit taking periodical abuse (in Spanish, luckily) from his coworkers because he still hasn’t figured out how to start the car (subsequent cars pile up surprisingly quickly, I noticed);
- Other drivers taking pictures, honking their horns or telling me at stop lights how much they wanted to get this car.
It would be wrong to say that I am not having fun driving my ActiveE. I like the stereo, the feeling of sitting in a “real” car again after my Prius Years, but mostly the sensation of the electric drive with little noise and little need for using the break pedal. In fact, I have a feeling I don’t want to go back to a gasoline powered car – ever. So I guess I’ll continue to be the “everyday Electronaut” who goes about doing the things he used to, minus the gas.