MINI releases research findings on MINI E electric car

Andross Moonah - CAP staff
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When MINI launched its MINI E electric car in 2009, the British automaker did so in order to gauge customer response to a vehicle that embodied both positive and negative attributes. Despite having virtually zero harmful emissions and lower running costs, the MINI E is hampered by a shorter driving range than its gasoline-powered counterpart and only has two seats instead of five. Field testing a limited quantity of the special MINIs was conducted in North America, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and China, and now the British automaker has released the results of its MINI E research campaign.

In North America, the University of California, Davis (UCD) and BMW group (which owns MINI) gathered feedback from more than 120 families who had collectively driven the MINI E for more than one million miles (1,609,344 kilometres) in California, New York, and New Jersey. The driving was conducted from June 2009 to June 2010 and according to UCD, participants in the research program felt that the MINI E was practical, fun, easy to drive, and easy to recharge.

According to the research findings, 100-percent of participants found Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) fun to drive and also practical for daily use, while 99-percent of participants felt that home charging was easy. What's perhaps most interesting is the fact that a substantial 88-percent of participants said they would be interested in purchasing a BEV or plug-in hybrid in the next five years.

"The MINI E studies are extremely valuable for us as they show that electric cars are already today offering an attractive mobility solution to a broader spectrum of customers," said the Head of Project i, BMW Group, Ulrich Kranz. "While reducing the tailpipe emissions to zero, the MINI E provides the fun that users expect when driving our products. The results of the UC Davis study have a direct impact on the development of all BMW Group electric vehicles to come. BMW Group now is developing the next generation of full electric cars, with the BMW ActiveE test fleet coming into the market in 2011 and the series production BMW i3 following in 2013."

That's right, another mass-produced electric car from a major automaker will join Mitsubishi's i-MiEV and Nissan's new LEAF come 2013 in the form of the BMW i3. The research gained from the MINI E project will help BMW better tailor the i3 for the world market. So far, hybrids and small displacement vehicles have been the typical choice for those interested in low emissions transportation, but with more automakers joining the all-electric fray it appears that electric power will become a very real option in the near future.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: EV, Mini, E, Electric,

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