BMW Mini Electric Cars Available in U.S. From Summer 2009

BMW has announced plans to sell all-electric versions of its popular Mini car in the U.S., starting from summer 2009.

Speaking on Tuesday, Mini USA Vice President, Jim McDowell, said that the company is still deciding whether to sell or lease the vehicles. He remained tight-lipped over exactly where in the country the cars will be available, and declined to comment on other aspects, such as range, power, charging time and price.

He also said that speculation that Mini will sell 500 EVs in California next year was premature, since no exact plans have yet been finalised. Mini will apparently make a further announcement later this year, possibly to coincide with the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Commenting on the trend for U.S. buyers to move towards smaller, more fuel-efficient cars, he said, “The world is moving in our direction. The overall market is down 10 percent, but small car sales are up 11 percent. People are trading in Ford F-150’s and Hummer’s for Mini’s.”

Mini join a growing band of car-makers planning to sell electric cars over the next few years, including global brands like Nissan, Subaru, Mitsubishi and Mercedes, as well as new start-ups and independent companies such as Tesla and Th!nk. Given the Mini’s style credentials and proven customer demand, this announcement is bound to ruffle a few feathers amongst the competition.

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Andrew Williams

is a writer and freelance journalist specialising in sustainability and green issues. He lives in Cardiff, Wales.