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The all-electric MINI E

Say good-bye to your rear seats and cargo space.
BMW's MINI E ditches its gasoline engine for an electric motor and batteries

In July, DailyTech first brought you news of BMW's plans to offer an all-electric MINI to California. Sources close to the project claimed that the MINIs would be partially assembled in England and then shipped to Germany where their batteries and electric motor would be installed during final assembly.

Well, the rumors were true and BMW officially announced the all-electric MINI E. The MINI E uses a 204 HP (150 kW) electric motor which is paired to a single-stage helical gearbox to drive the front wheels. The 35 kWh lithium-ion battery pack is comprised of 5,088 cells which are mounted in the cargo area of the vehicle.

The placement of the batteries, however, results in a serious erosion of the Mini's already limited cargo carrying abilities and necessitates the removal of the rear seats. The massive battery pack also adds significant weight to the petite MINI's chassis. A MINI with a traditional internal combustion engine weighs just 2,546 lbs in base form. The MINI E boosts that figure to a portly (for its size) 3,230 lbs.

BMW says that the MINI E can travel 150 miles on a single charge which is more than triple what the Chevrolet Volt can manage with its onboard lithium-ion battery pack. The Volt, however, still has a longer overall range since its onboard gasoline engine generator can recharge the battery pack once they reach critical levels.

Once the MINI E's battery has reached critical level, it can be charged at home using a standard wall outlet. The battery pack can be charged in just 2.5 hours when using a special charger that can be installed in the driver's garage.

When it comes to performance, BMW claims that the MINI E can accelerate from 0-60 in 8.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 95 MPH.

BMW will make available 500 MINI Es to California residents -- pricing has not yet been announced.



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Charging Speed
By MrPickins on 10/19/2008 11:26:29 AM , Rating: 2
I'm curious as to how they can charge a 35kWh battery pack in 2.5 hrs from a standard outlet.

I'm no expert on LiIon batteries, but even if they were recharged at 25% capacity that would be ~26 kWh in 2.5 hrs, or ~10.5 kW continuous. This is over 5 times the power (15 amps at 120v) the circuits in my house provide.

Can someone show me where my reasoning is wrong?




RE: Charging Speed
By ChronoReverse on 10/19/2008 11:42:44 AM , Rating: 2
Hmm, maybe it's charged at 25% only up to 75% (similar to the Prius) so only about 17.5kWh. And then the charging source is a plug like the one used by electric ranges so 240V at 50A which is 12kW so that's sufficient. A house gets up 200A anyway.


RE: Charging Speed
By MrPickins on 10/19/2008 12:08:56 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, a 240v feed would be suitable for the purpose, but the wording seems to me to be referring to a standard 110v outlet:

quote:
Once the MINI E's battery has reached critical level, it can be charged at home using a special charger that plugs into a standard wall outlet . The battery pack can be charged in just 2.5 hours.


Hard to tell with the ambiguous wording, but I'm sure further details will clear things up soon.


RE: Charging Speed
By masher2 (blog) on 10/19/2008 12:21:06 PM , Rating: 3
The 2.5 hour figure is using the installed high-current charging station. If plugged into a standard wall outlet, it takes twice as long to charge.


RE: Charging Speed
By croc on 10/19/2008 5:34:55 PM , Rating: 1
Link please.


RE: Charging Speed
By codeThug on 10/19/08, Rating: -1
RE: Charging Speed
By croc on 10/19/2008 7:23:25 PM , Rating: 2
Simple request, said 'please'. Who died and left you the PC hall monitor, asshole? That's impolite, but you either are too ignorant to read, or too arrogant to care.


RE: Charging Speed
By codeThug on 10/19/08, Rating: -1
RE: Charging Speed
By masher2 (blog) on 10/19/2008 8:54:30 PM , Rating: 2
It's in the link from the source article.


RE: Charging Speed
By croc on 10/20/2008 2:19:48 AM , Rating: 1
There is nothing about charging times in that link, nor about the circuit required to install this charger.

Standard US house circuit is 15A, maybe 20A... the KWH available vs. the supposed KWH for a full charge does not add up to 2.5 hours for a full charge. You seemed to indicate some deeper knowledge of this process, so I supposed that you might have a link as to where you you learned this.


RE: Charging Speed
By HandiCapable on 10/20/2008 9:41:39 AM , Rating: 2
From the source article:

"MINI will be supplying a high current charging station with the cars that can be installed in the driver's garage to facilitate quicker charges, providing a full charge in 2.5 hours."

http://www.autoblog.com/2008/10/18/la-preview-204-...


RE: Charging Speed
By croc on 10/20/2008 4:33:56 PM , Rating: 2
From the blog:

A full recharge draws a maximum of 28 kilowatt hours of electricity from the grid.

Now, my maths give me 11.2 KWH from the circuit. I take that a bit further to see how many amps @ 120 volts, and it looks to me as if it will require a dedicated 100A cuircuit.. Not exactly what every garage's wall socket provides.

Mini AUS can't provide any more information as this appears to be confidential information outside of the test areas... Mini USA either doesn't know ar isn't talking (to me).

Maybe someone in SOCAL can apply for the lease and give us more information...


RE: Charging Speed
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 10/20/2008 8:00:42 AM , Rating: 2
Perhaps the special charging unit is storing power all the time and it dumps it into the battery pack when needed. 21.5 hours drawing house current, then a 2.5 hour dump into the battery?


RE: Charging Speed
By MrPickins on 10/20/2008 11:16:38 AM , Rating: 2
What do you suppose it's storing the energy in, another set of batteries? I don't even think superconductors would work...


RE: Charging Speed
By MrPickins on 10/20/2008 11:17:28 AM , Rating: 2
'superconductors' should read 'supercapacitors'


RE: Charging Speed
By psychobriggsy on 10/19/2008 12:44:54 PM , Rating: 2
From the linked article: "MINI will be supplying a high current charging station with the cars that can be installed in the driver's garage to facilitate quicker charges, providing a full charge in 2.5 hours."

I.e,. this charging station presumably either requires professional installation and runs at a higher voltage or amperage off of mains electricity, or it charges itself up slowly and discharges quickly into the Mini.

Such a car would be great for a city, except that many city houses don't have garages, so you can't install the charging station (or easily charge in any manner).


RE: Charging Speed
By MrPickins on 10/19/08, Rating: -1
RE: Charging Speed
By MrPickins on 10/20/2008 5:40:11 PM , Rating: 2
Rated down for talking smack to myself???


RE: Charging Speed
By quiksilvr on 10/19/2008 3:19:21 PM , Rating: 2
I'm assuming the charging station will have some portable elements that allows you to move from your room of the apartment of your house to your car for that extra boost. But really, for such a slow electric car, I'm shocked that it doesn't even have the same range as the Tesla and that car is a beast.


RE: Charging Speed
By Spuke on 10/19/2008 7:59:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm shocked that it doesn't even have the same range as the Tesla and that car is a beast.
The Tesla weighs 600 lbs less.


RE: Charging Speed
By PrinceGaz on 10/19/2008 9:38:07 PM , Rating: 4
The top speed of 95mph is irrelevant to anyone who isn't going to take it to race on a track (unless they live in Germany or some other country where some roads have no speed-limit).

The 0-60mph of 8.5 secs is what really matters, and that isn't a bad time for a small car. It's as good as the 120bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine model, anyway. Who cares that it can't manage to do a ton, when the highest speed-limit in most countries is at most 80mph? Unless you do live in Germany and want to blast down the Autobahns, I'd say a top-speed of 95 is more than adequate.


RE: Charging Speed
By quiksilvr on 10/19/2008 10:09:04 PM , Rating: 2
What does that have anything to do with what I just said? If the Tesla is faster, lighter, have a 250 mile range and seats 2, why is the Cooper heavier, slower and has a shorter range?


RE: Charging Speed
By djc208 on 10/20/2008 6:17:58 AM , Rating: 2
The Tesla is based on a much lighter base vehicle than the Mini, both in design and in features. The Lotus underpinnings have always been light, but usually at the expense of comfort and safety features. The Lotus, and I imagine the Tesla too, are not considered standard production vehicles so many of the federal safety requirements don't apply.

Besides, a base mini will run you around $25~30K while a base Lotus is at least twice that. You're paying for the high-tech/low weight design. Base engines aren't that different in size and output.


RE: Charging Speed
By quiksilvr on 10/20/2008 12:14:15 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know, I just figured that since the engine isn't that powerful the range will at least be adequate. 150 miles just sounds really low (and a 3200 pound Mini cooper just sounds ridiculous).


RE: Charging Speed
By PrinceGaz on 10/19/2008 9:42:16 PM , Rating: 2
The likely reason it doesn't have the same range as the Tesla, is that it doesn't have the same price-tag as it :p


RE: Charging Speed
By Diesel Donkey on 10/20/2008 1:34:27 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
pricing has not yet been announced


How can you be so sure?


RE: Charging Speed
By 4wardtristan on 10/19/2008 8:15:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
...when using a special charger that can be installed in the driver's garage ....


RE: Charging Speed
By MrPickins on 10/19/2008 8:47:44 PM , Rating: 2
That was not originally in the article, but thanks...


RE: Charging Speed
By randyc on 10/20/2008 12:23:11 PM , Rating: 2
Fast charging will probably require special wiring, like for this PowerStar AE-125 electric tankless water heater.
Requires 240V Hard Wiring and 120 Amps
This Model Requires 3 Separate 40 Amp 2-Pole Circuit Breakers and Six #8 Awg Wires + Ground (Min. 200 Amp Breaker Panel)


RE: Charging Speed
By Spuke on 10/20/2008 2:32:41 PM , Rating: 2
240V installation costs can be anywhere from $100 to $1000 depending on complexity and location. And that doesn't include installing the Mini's home kit. And if you don't have enough power to add a 240V circuit to your property, expect to add a few thousand more on that. I can see why they're doing it out here. They're probably hoping for some rich celeb's to buy these.


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