Today, BMW Group announced the official launch of its electric Mini. Called Mini E, the electric vehicle will be powered by a 150kw ( 204 hp ) electric engine fed by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The car will initially be available as a two-seater. The space taken up by back-seat passengers in the series model has been reserved for the lithium-ion battery. 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. For recharge, customers will have to install in their garages an “wallbox”. The wallbox enable higher amperage, and thus provide for extremely short charging times. Wallboxes fully recharge batteries after a mere two-and-a-half hours. Fully recharged, Mini E will have a range of more than 240 kilometers, or 150 miles.
The MINI E’s electric drive train produces a peak torque of 220 Newton meters, delivering seamless acceleration to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 8.5 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 152 km/h (95 mph).
Safety features like Abs, DSC, Electrical Power Assisted Steering will be available as standard.
The car is part of a pilot project, and will be developed in a number of 500 units, all of them available for US states of California, New York and New Jersey only. The possibility of offering the MINI E in Europe as well is currently being considered. The MINI E will give its world premiere at the Los Angeles Auto Show on November 19 and 20, 2008.
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. MINI’s UK plant will be responsible for manufacturing the entire vehicle with the exception of the drive components and the lithium-ion battery, with the brand’s series models rolling off its assembly lines concurrently.