The Mini has finally gone electric. As scooped by CAR Online, the Mini E is a pure electric car and just 500 will be built for corporate and private customers in the US, although a handful could make it to London where there is also a limited recharging infrastructure.
The Mini E will only be available for one year as part of a trial and at the end all will be returned to BMW. The idea is to check the viability of an all-electric Mini – and, if successful, series production cars would be likely within a few years.
Mini E: how it’s gone electric
The electric Mini relies on lithium ion batteries, driving a 204bhp electric motor in place of the usual internal combustion engines. It drives the front wheels as usual and – as with hybrid cars such as the Toyota Prius – kinetic energy under braking is collected and used to top up the battery.
The resultant performance spec sound impressive on paper. The batteries add 260kg, sending the Mini’s kerbweight spiralling to 1465kg, but it’ll still hit 62mph in just 8.5sec. Top speed is pegged back to 95mph.
Recharging takes eight hours and Mini claims the maximum range on a full charge is around 150 miles. However, you lose the rear seats as the electric transmission lives above the rear axle. Not that the rear-seats of the regular Mini have much space anyway…
We’ll know more about the Mini E when it’s unveiled at the 2008 Los Angeles motor show.
Come back to CAR Online on 19 November 2008 for our full LA show reports