The BMW Group is about to become the first manufacturer of premium automobiles to deploy a fleet of nearly 500 all electric vehicles for private use in daily traffic. Powered by a 150 kW (204 hp) electric motor and fed by a high-performance rechargeable lithium-ion battery, the vehicle will be nearly silent and emissions free.
The Mini E will have a range of about 150 miles and will initially be offered to select private and corporate customers in California, New York and New Jersey, but will first be given its world premiere at the LA Auto Show on November 19th and 20th, 2008.
As for its speed, BMW claims that it will offer acceleration to 62 mph in 8.5 seconds with a top speed that is electronically limited to 95 mph.
BMW Group says that putting 500 cars on the road under real daily traffic conditions will make it possible to gain widely applicable hand-on experience. Evaluating these finding will generate valuable know-how, which will be factored into the engineering of mass-produced vehicles.
Based on the current Mini model, the car will initially be available as a two-seater. (The space in the back seat will initially be taken up by the lithium-ion battery.) The battery can be plugged into all standard power outlets and its charge time is strongly dependent on the voltage and amperage of the electricity flowing through the grid. That’s why, in the USA, buyers will receive a wall-box that will ship with every Mini E. The wall-box will be installed in the customer’s garage, enabling higher amperage. Wall-boxes will fully recharge the batteries after two-and-a-half hours.
The Mini E’s styling is a bit different. A specially designed logo in Yellow, depicting a power plug in the shape of an “E” is set against a silver backdrop. It will be applied to the roof, the front and back, and the charger port lid.
Production of the approximately 500 cars will take place at the company’s Oxford and Munich sites and is scheduled for completion before the end of 2008.
If you’re like me, you’ll be eagerly anticipating seeing these new cars on the road.Original here