According to Automotive
News, BMW has plans to lease 490
all-electric Minis to California residents. Ten additional vehicles will be
used on the auto show circuit to showcase BMW's prowess in zero-emissions
According to sources close to the project, the Minis will be
assembled in England, however, the engine, transmission, and fuel tank will not
be installed into the chassis of each vehicle. Instead, each partially-assembled
Mini will be shipped back to Germany where they will be equipped with electric
motors and battery packs.
Other details of BMW's latest venture are rather scarce at
the moment. BMW officials failed to confirm or deny the report and simply
stated, "BMW will announce whether it will build electric vehicles or not
later this year."
500 vehicles are definitely not enough to make a huge dent
in BMW's efforts to produce more eco-friendly, but it's a start. BMW is making
similar baby steps with its Hydrogen
7 luxury sedan. The Hydrogen 7, which is a heavily-modified 7-Series,
features a 260 HP twelve-cylinder engine that can run on either on conventional
premium gasoline or hydrogen at the push of a button.
BMW's niche efforts with an all-electric Mini and the
Hydrogen 7 will join other efforts from General Motors with the Chevrolet
Volt plug-in series-hybrid electric vehicle and Honda with the FCX
hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle.