Today at MINI’s Oxford
plant, forty electric MINI E cars were handed over to their test
drivers, who are all members of the public. This marks the start of two
consecutive six-month field trial periods which will evaluate the
psychological, social and technical aspects of living with an electric
car. The findings will be used both to inform the BMW Group engineering
teams, as they create zero emissions vehicles for the future, and the
wider world to help guide power providers, policy makers and component
manufacturers in their decision making.
The BMW Group has
played a pioneering role in the development of sustainable private
transport through ever more efficient petrol and diesel power plants.
This is being achieved through the comprehensive application of a wide
range of technologies, collectively known as Efficient Dynamics. More
than 1.6 million cars worldwide have been sold with Efficient Dynamics
technology integrated into their design. The company also has a
long-term commitment to the development of both hybrid and hydrogen
“This is a historic
day for MINI and for the BMW Group” said Tim Abbott, Managing Director
of BMW Group (UK). “It is fitting that the brand with its inspiration
in the oil crisis of the 1950s is again at the forefront of energy
efficiency with a car that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
The trial is a
collaborative effort within a BMW Group UK-led consortium. Additional
funding is provided by the Government-backed Technology Strategy Board
and the Department for Transport (DFT) as part of a UK-wide programme
involving trials of 340 ultra-low carbon vehicles from several
The MINI E
To cover the research and investment costs of the project a MINI E
would normally cost in the region of £550 a month to lease, however part
funding from the Government’s Technology Strategy Board means that the
lease cost to MINI E pioneers is just £330 per month, which includes
VAT, insurance, service and maintenance. Over and above this payment,
the only other costs that MINI E pioneers will incur are for the
electricity they use when charging their car. A full charge at home (for
a completely flat battery) costs just £1.50 when using off-peak
electricity or around £4.00 when charging during peak hours. This
translates to just over a penny a mile when charging off-peak.
specification and performance
The MINI E’s electric drive train produces a peak torque of 220 Nm and a
power output equivalent to 204hp. Drive is delivered to the front
wheels via a single-stage helical gearbox. This unique engine and
transmission arrangement powers the MINI E seamlessly to 62 mph in 8.5
seconds and on to an electronically-limited top speed of 95 mph.
Based on the
familiar MINI Hatch, MINI E is a two-seater because the space normally
used by rear passengers is reserved for a lithium-ion battery. This
state-of-the-art rechargeable battery unit combines high output with
ample storage capacity and a remarkable power output. It has a maximum
capacity of 35 kilowatt hours (kWh) and transmits energy to the electric
motor as a direct current at a nominal 380 volts. It comprises 5,088
cells grouped into 48 modules, which are packaged into three battery
elements arranged compactly inside the MINI E.
electricity: zero emissions at point of use, at minimal cost
As soon as the driver
lifts his or her foot off the accelerator pedal, the electric motor acts
as a generator. This results in braking force and the power recovered
from the kinetic energy is fed back to the battery. In city traffic,
some 75 per cent of all deceleration can be done without the brakes.
Making substantial use of this energy regeneration feature extends the
car’s range by up to 20 per cent and contributes to a smooth driving
A full recharge
draws a maximum of 28 kilowatt hours of electricity from the grid.
Each kilowatt hour translates
into 5.4 miles giving the MINI E a theoretical range of over 150 miles.
Besides the benefit of zero-emissions driving, at point of use, the MINI
E offers significant economic advantages over a vehicle powered by a
conventional internal combustion engine.