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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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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
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
pricing has not yet been announced

How can you be so sure?

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