Already a lot of fun to drive and environmentally efficient, the popular MINI Cooper will soon gain even more favor with environmentally conscious drivers as the electric-powered MINI E debuted at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show.
Based on the MINI Cooper and powered by a 150kW (204 horsepower) electric motor, the MINI E will boast a range of 150 miles due to the use of a high-performance rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The zero-emission vehicle is nearly silent, with power delivered to the front axle through a single-stage helical gearbox.
Since entering the U.S. market as a 2002 model, the MINI Cooper has enjoyed tremendous popularity as a premium compact vehicle that delivers excellent fuel economy. Now, 500 select private and corporate customers in California, New York and New Jersey will have the opportunity to experience a completely emissions-free MINI.
With 162 lb-ft. of torque on tap, the MINI E will accelerate from zero to 62 mph in 8.5 seconds on the way to a top speed of 95 mph. To match the handling and driving enjoyment of the MINI Cooper, the suspension has been tuned to match the even weight distribution of the MINI E, which weighs in at 3,230 lbs.
MINI E will initially be available as a two-seater, with the latest lithium-ion battery technology specifically engineered for the MINI E. The battery unit combines high output and ample storage capacity in the form of three battery elements stored where the rear seat would normally be, leaving a small storage area behind.
Using similar technology as the power supplies for mobile phones and portable computers, the MINI E can be plugged into any standard power outlet to charge. Charge time varies depending on voltage and amperage, and for U.S. owners all MINI Es will include a wall box that can be installed to enable higher amperage to allow the MINI E to be fully recharged in 2.5 hours.
The BMW Group, which manufacturers MINI automobiles, plans to use the experience gained from 500 electric vehicles on the road in real-world driving conditions to move toward “medium term” series production of an all-electric vehicle as part of its Number One strategy.