The All-Electric Mini E
The exclusive leasing program of BMW’s all-electric vehicles (Mini Es) has created quite a buzz. After all, only 450 models exist. Now, through a draw in a lottery, 4 lucky Californian municipalities, including Glendora, Diamond Bar, West Covina and Azusa, hit the jackpot as they were selected to participate in BMW’s first ever EV pilot program.
Each township will receive two of the two-seater Mini Cooper look-alikes. Moreover, while other lessees shell out $850/month, the winners will only be paying $10/month per car. Why $10, you might be wondering? Well, it’s not supposed to make sense. Afterwards, they would be expected to provide feedback on the cars, which presumably would perfect the engineering process by the time BMW starts mass-producing the Mini E.
The Air Quality Management District (AQMD) and the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments helped organize the lottery. Michael Cacciotti, the representative of the AQMD Governing Body revealed the fact to the media that around 15 cities had shown interest in acquiring the car; however, only four cities were chosen. Mr. Cacciotti is a representative of the Los Angeles County Eastern Region as well.
Mr. Michael Cacciotti acquired 2 Mini E cars for South Pasadena city a couple of months back, when he met with BMW officials. He was promised six more electric cars during that time. Later, when the production increased, other cities were selected to lease out the cars.
According to engineers at BMW, the Mini E would have a single charge electric range of 150 miles. Its top speed would be 95 miles per hour, with a 0-60 acceleration of about 8.5 seconds. The car’s backseat and part of its trunk would be occupied by a 573-pound lithium-ion battery, which would be used to power a 150kW electric motor. All lessees in the pilot program would be given a free high-voltage wall box, which would reduce the charge time of the battery to 3 hours.
Chris Jeffers, the Glendora City Manager responded positively to the electric car. He said that it would be a ‘win-win situation’ for masses, as the car would enable the city to save about $500 to $800 on gasoline on a yearly basis. He commented, “For us, it shows our green side as we’re trying to be as green as possible. It also allows us to delay purchases for some new vehicles.”
Yup, it was a hard decision to make, but in the end he chose to accept the free BMWs.
Update: BMW has announced plans to produce an electric car specifically geared to meet California’s Zero-Emission-Vehicle statute (ZEVs) by 2012. The car will be called the BMW City or “Project i”. There is no way to tell at the moment if they will scrap the Mini E program, or if this model is its natural successor.