The BMW mini coups took the U.S. by storm in part, due to its great gas mileage. Well, now BMW has launched the MINI E, an all electric, zero emissions car. Peter Trepp of Pacific Palisades has become the first consumer in the country to drive the car. He will have it for one year as part of a one-year field study. Additional consumers in New York, LA and New Jersey will also be taking ownership of their MINI E by the end of June.
I’m only slightly miffed that I wasn’t selected to test-drive the car for a year but I’ll get over it. In the meantime, the rest of us can follow Peter through his blog “Plugged-In With Peter’s MINI E,” which can be viewed at http://www.petersminie.blogspot.com/. Yes, his blog is a marketing tool but I can’t resist and I will be following him. Maybe we’ll even be able to get him to write a special piece for us at Gas 2.0.
So how did Trepp become one of the lucky 450 people to drive the car? He is a venture capitalist whose firm specializes in funding early-stage clean technology companies. Besides being tested here in LA, NY and NJ, the car will also be tested in Berlin and Munich, Germany; and London, England. Hey – they should have tested it in San Francisco, Portland or Seattle where they are building electric vehicle infrastructure.
So since this is a site about moving vehicles…let’s check out the stats. The MINI E can travel 100 miles on a single charge depending on driving habits and conditions. It sports a 150 kilowatt electric motor with the equivalent of 201 hp. The energy supply comes from a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The car can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 8.5 seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of 95 mph (bummer, I like speeds in the 150 mph range). And the charging will be handled through MINI’s installation of a special wall box into each tester’s garage that can fully recharge a completely drained battery in just two-and-a-half hours.
The MINI E is the first product of BMW’s Project i, a program designed to research and develop transportation strategies and new types of vehicles specifically to meet the needs of the world’s growing mega-cities. If this is successful, which I’m optimistic it will be, I’m curious to see what they’ll launch next. Guesses anyone?