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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 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).


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