BMW will build 500 all-electric Minis
BMW is preparing a new "green" variant of its popular Mini

The fuel economy/eco-friendly push is in full effect these days in the auto industry. BMW is looking to boost its efforts in this field with a new variant of its popular Mini in the U.S. market.

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 vehicles.

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.

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton

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