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MINI E Driven

Hannah | 08 April 2011

It was a sad moment for the 40 Pioneers on that rainy day in at the MINI Oxford Plant they had to return their companions with which had spent the last 6 months. The of two trials, the first ran from 2009 until June closes MINI’s test of electric drive systems. The collected from the trials was not to test the electric capabilities of the car but to examine how people use and live an electric powered vehicle; it was a proving ground.

BMW’s never question that will develop the best powered platforms, what didn’t know was how people use and adapt to this new technology. MINI E sent out on trial, all 612 of built in the US and sent to different of the world, carried a blackbox to charging times, distances, while the drivers recorded personal logs. This will directly influence the and design of the BMW i3, BMW’s first car under the new sub-brand “i” to debut at this year’s Motor Show.

Not immediately electric technology to the MINI may be a opportunity as everyone who I bumped during my test drive, and all the 40 MINI E Pioneers would definitely bought into an MINI E and here’s why!

I to admit that I have been a true fan of the new MINI. Its tricky to re-design as classic, VW the Buggy, Fiat with the and MINI with the well It didn’t help that kept saying “ooh, I can see you in a typically I always do the opposite of people tell me. I had driven one years ago, enjoyed it but the whole interior a bit overdone and

So, I cast it off my list of cars I would like to own in my lifetime. the MINI E came into my drive list and I must there was something tempting this combination, MINI + I really didn’t understand why the of heart, I am of the camp that EVs speak a new design language and new vehicle architecture, unlike the engine cars.

In this though, the design and electric actually live together well as a concept and in reality. The is right, the look is there, and in a it makes senseits electric fashion!

MINI didn’t do crazy like refit test cars in any special In fact they might handicapped the experiment by sticking the cells behind the driver and thus sacrificing the convenience of but the Pioneers didn’t careand did I. To tell the truth, most of the who applied for the test run were interested in driving a MINI for for 6 months than the fact it was electric. For me, naturally, the motivation was the result surprisingnot only did I enjoy the electric experience I fell for the MINI’s charms!

Gasp!

Emotive stuff here is the short of the test. I left the MINI Oxford parking lot, and many broken hearts, I set off down the M40 to on a full charge, at 70 mphand crossed. I played it cool to not succumb to range anxiety as after percent the dial

The MINI E lab range is 156 miles but range, with external considered, on a full charge is likely to be in the 120 miles area. ultimately will change in the i3 as BMW better battery technology and transference. My trip was a little 60 miles and I made it back to the with about 35% left in my

Little did I know that I not be able to charge the car overnight for a

I had scoped London for charging planned an extended trip to where I could recharge for and even tapped a friends’ but city life never out the way you plan it. I didn’t have time to spend at Sainburys, my left town on business, and the charging points are always used by the beautiful G-Whizs. On top of after I double-checked that was free in the City of Westminster I got a ticket!

I quickly learned that with electric is life

Once you have figured out you work around it, with benefits. It is great that you have to pay for parking or the congestion but the best asset of all is regenerative Say it with me ‘regenerative braking’, or Energy Regeneration in MINI I have driven other cars but never been so to my limits. I was determined to go about my as usual despite my dropping

What I figured out was the more I that regenerative braking the I could milk the charge. happened? I changed the way I drove; I use the brake unless essential and let the car do what it was built to do.

Mini E Electric Cars

In this way I a whole week doing meetings, and more on the one charge I got the plant, a 30 minute stop at and I managed to give the car back 21% charge! At less than per charge that is a pretty deal.

The design of the MINI E is much the same as the original designed by Frank Stephenson in 1997; in some ways manufacturing and materials is what has the design of this two-time she still looks good. eyes, a smooth section, the greenhouse so en-vogue these and fun colour combinations makes car unique to it’s owner. is still a bit gimmicky with the circular central odometer and switches. However, now that the is generated electrically this seems to have a louder a reason; toggle switches sense, on and off, connecting and a circuit. Even the elliptical door inserts have the test of time.

There are an obscene number of used on the interior if you are so inclined as to them — 15-18 on you obsession level. Also on the side was perhaps the number of stickers plastered over the I think I counted 8, not that the warden noticed.

Sue and Doug two magnetic Pioneers I met at the Oxford well actually Sue was the Pioneer and her husband, nicked her car when he how much fun it was. Doug is a man who a 4 ltr sports car as he puts it, and despite installed solar panels on his house it was never out of an eco motivation but of a property improvement. After 6-month trial Doug is a man, he loves the instant and Sue loves the lifestyle change. noticed that not only their solar panels and covering the cost to recharge the car but were making enough to back to the grid and making

Sue could happily get to work miles away and tack on errands on top without any anxiety. adjusted to the weather, the coldest in over the winter, and made all of excuses to not return the car on due day echoing Pioneers’ sadness to part the MINI with excuses “ the dog ate it ” or “ it was ”. I thought it was all a bit muchlittle did I

Speaking to Dr. Julian Weber . of BMW’s Project i, I asked the recent economy and climate were main motivators for BMW to electric powered vehicles. He that actually back in there was a strategic shift at BMW the idea that the future car be emissions free and include this later became the behind their Mega plan and project i. So whilst the reality of economic hardships and issues serve as a catalyst for BMW was already exploring an alternative They certainly seem prepared and connected than any automotive company with new brand BMWi Born . It taps into the connectivity we use on a daily basis and our instinct to without compromise. As humans, and all the that assumes, we do not simply sustainable lives, we want lives and BMWi is looking to do for future generations.

Using as the brand to capture that future was a very smart indeed.


The day finally came to hand my MINI E test car number 607 . In a way I was I didn’t know how much I could regenerate my own energyit was fun though. What I didn’t was that I had developed a slight to the car. MINI is definitely a with a strong identity one that I thought would with my own stubborn one.

In there are so many animalistic to the design of the car, quirky wing mirrors, heavy that always nudge the bulldog stance, and spirited quality that it does on the role of a companion. So on that day I did say goodbye I looked back as it was swept away by the Flying (MINI E’s personal

Big thanks to Jenny at Elektromotive for over the dongle for London s EDF Points

Mini E Electric Cars
Mini E Electric Cars
Mini E Electric Cars
Mini E Electric Cars
Mini E Electric Cars

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