BMW Mini E - All Electric All The Time

The Mini is a stylish, classy design in the first place; that they’ve changed next to nothing in transforming it into an EV is impressive and exciting.
BMW Mini E

by Ross Bonander

Specs:

  • Type: 100% Electric Vehicle
  • Class: 2-seat Mini
  • Manufacturer: BMW
  • Propulsion system: 150-kilowatt (204hp) asynchronous motor
  • Top Speed: 95 mph
  • Zero-to-62: 8.5 seconds
  • Vehicle range: 156 miles (Regenerative braking will contribute to vehicle range)
  • Fuel(s): Electricity
  • Battery system: Lithium-ion (35-kWh). Full recharge in 8 hours without wallbox
  • Tailpipe emissions: No
  • Price: $850/month lease

The manufacturer says

“While a handful of companies have recently pursued hybrid electric-gas engines, BMW Group is the first to use the latest generation of lithium-ion technology in an all-electric vehicle.”

The critics say...

“The performance [specs] won't impress any real driving enthusiasts, but [they’re] decent enough for slogging through the daily commute.” Blog.wired.com

Overview

The BMW Mini-E is neither concept car nor production vehicle but somewhere in between. They’re taking the Mini E to US streets by leasing 500 of them to people in New York and Los Angeles in the “Mini E Field Trial” that should unfold completely by the end of 2009. Unlike a normal Mini, the Mini-E is a two-seater, for one reason: it needs to accommodate the massive battery pack.

What we like...

The design. The Mini is a stylish, classy design in the first place; that they’ve changed next to nothing in transforming it into an EV is impressive and exciting.

The wallbox. BMW is giving participants in the field trial a wallbox that increases the amps of an electrical outlet and will recharge the battery system in around 2 hours.

What we don’t...

The lease price. To be part of the field trial, BMW asks, “Do you have the right stuff?” which in this case means being able to afford the lease on the Mini E: $850 a month.

The vehicle weight. The Mini-E weighs over 3,200 pounds—almost 600 pounds of it coming from the battery pack.

Conclusions

So what will come of the Mini-E field trial? We’ll take a guess—drivers are going to love it. An all-electric Mini is a fantastic idea, one we’d love to see reach full production status sooner rather than later.

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