On the first day of the LA Auto Show BMW Group's MINI division made the world Premiere of their much anticipated MINI-E electric car. While the car is not yet ready to be put into production, MINI will be releasing 500 units on lease to drivers in California and New York in order to study the car's performance in the real world. If you want to sign up for the possibility of getting one of these leases, visit the MINI-E website and sign up.
MINI emphasized that this car was not a mere design study, but was ready to go into production after some important feedback from real life usage and some tweaking of the function of the car. The company also stressed the need for a better electric charging infrastructure in the United States, while at the same time noting that in the case of electric vehicles it was possible for technology to precede infrastructure. This means that although a network of charging stations across the country would facilitate the use of electric cars, the lack of that network doesn't make EVs useless.
To debut the car, the Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles was brought out on stage and taken for a test drive. Unlike many of the other presentations, the MINI unveiling seemed a bit more friendly during the awkward silence when the very long charging cord was being wound up. Then came the test drive, where the Deputy Mayor and her driver drove off stage for about 15 seconds, at which point the presenter asked the audience, "Did you hear anything?"
The obvious answer was no. Even though the MINI-E packs a 150 kW motor, can do 0-60 in 8.5 seconds, and tops out at 95 mph, it didn't make a sound as it rolled off of the stage. To underline the efficiency of their new offering, MINI pointed out that the car could drive 5.5 miles on just 1kW (about 10 cents) of energy. When was the last time you could drive 50 miles for under a buck?
written by jasmine, November 20, 2008
written by Cameron Adams, November 21, 2008
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