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Home » Green Car News » Green Mini Cars

MINI E joins electric vehicle announcement

17 April 2009

MINI E joins Government electric vehicle announcement

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Ian Robertson, Sales and Marketing Director of BMW Group AG, today joined Business Secretary Peter Mandelson and Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon in Scotland as they launched the Government’s vision for ultra-low carbon transport in the UK.

Both ministers drove a MINI E electric car at the event as they announced plans to support motorists by providing help worth £2000-£5000 towards buying their first electric or plug-in hybrid car when they hit the showrooms.

BMW Group has announced that MINI E will go on a twelve-month field trial in Germany and the USA this year, to evaluate the technical and social aspects of living with an all-electric vehicle in a real world environment and plans to include the UK in this programme.

Ian Robertson said, “We believe the MINI E is an excellent vehicle for trialling this alternative form of sustainable mobility. And what better time to do this than in the year we celebrate the 50th birthday of MINI. We look forward to extending our German and American trials to the UK.

BMW Group recently applied to the UK Government’s Technology Strategy Board in response to a funding competition announced in December 2008.  Proposals were invited for innovative, industry-led collaborative research projects involving ultra-low carbon vehicles.

The UK trial would bring together central and regional government departments, regional development organisations, energy infrastructure providers and academic partners. The common objective is to develop ultra-low carbon vehicles that customers want to buy – and bring them to market as rapidly as possible.

The MINI E’s electric drive train produces a peak torque of 220 Nm, and power 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 current MINI Hatch, the car is available as a two-seater.  The space normally inhabited by rear passengers is reserved for a lithium-ion battery. 

When in use in the zero-emissions MINI E, the battery unit combines high output with ample storage capacity and remarkable power output. The lithium-ion storage unit will have a maximum capacity of 35 kilowatt hours (kWh) and transmit energy to the electric motor as direct current at a nominal 380 volts. The rechargeable battery is made up of 5,088 cells grouped into 48 modules.  These modules are packaged into three battery elements that are compactly arranged inside the MINI E.

The energy storage unit’s components are based on technologies proven in power supply units for mobile phones and portable computers. The MINI E’s lithium-ion battery can be plugged into all standard power outlets. Its charge time is strongly dependent on the voltage and amperage of the electricity flowing through the grid.  As with existing research projects in the USA and Berlin, users can recharge a battery that has been completely drained within a very short period of time using a wallbox that will be supplied as standard with every MINI E. With 240V/32A, charging time for the car will be around four hours. There is also an intention to establish a network of public charging stations.

The wallbox will be installed in the customer’s garage, enable higher amperage, and thus ensure extremely short charging times. Wallboxes fully recharge batteries in just two-and-a-half hours.  Only lockable garages or similar buildings will qualify as suitable power stations for the MINI E.

 

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