The Win-Win MINI-E Field Trials

BMW has published the requirements for participation in their field trials of the MINI-E all-electric Mini. Among them:

  • Access to a garage;
  • Residence in the Metropolitan New York City area or the LA-Orange County area;
  • Sign a 1-year $850 per month lease;
  • Have a clean driving record;
  • Provide extensive feedback to the company, in the form of surveys and a blog

$850 per month is pretty steep, but you won’t be paying for gas (at least for the MINI-E), and collision coverage is included in that amount (although liability is not). Plus, you get to drive that sweet two-seater for a full year (yes, two-seater—the 600 lb lithium-ion battery pack pretty much swallows up the former back seat).

Assuming you could afford it, would you be interested? The deadline for applications is December 10, and I’m anxious to see how many takers they get. I predict a lot. The Mini-E has a range of about 156 miles on a full charge (regenerative breaking contributes a little more), plenty for most any commute, even in the notorious urban sprawl of the Los Angeles area.

Personally I think the field trial is more or less a win-win proposition, but maybe I’m not looking closely enough.

What might be some of the drawbacks?

And why aren’t other future car makers doing the same thing?

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