BMW's 100% electric ActiveE is a smooth ride and features one pedal driving. Photo: BMW

When it comes to producing an outstanding electric car, it’s no surprise that BMW has taken the lead. The brand new, 100% electric ActiveE is silent, even when racing on the highway. And after a week behind the wheel of the coupe, based on the BMW 1 Series, New York Times reviewer Bradely Berman is very impressed.

The limited-production ActiveE is a bit heavy (4,000 pounds) and takes 8.5 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph, but the quality that is the hallmark of BMW shines when it comes to smooth handling, weight distribution and steering. The car gets at least 80 miles out of each full battery, which takes about 4 hours to charge fully.

But for Berman, the most impressive feature was the ActiveE’s regenerative braking system, which decelerates the car when the driver takes his foot off the accelerator (no more gas pedal!). With some experience, the driver can stop using the brake pedal altogether, while the battery recoups the car’s kinetic energy for future use.