The latest adaptation of the BMW Mini, the Mini E (E for Electric) has been made available for trial in West London.
The latest adaptation of the BMW Mini, the BMW Mini E (E for Electric) has been made available for trial in West London.
For those living within the catchment area and with £330 per month available for leasing of the car (reduced from £550 with government subsidy) and with BMW paying the Insurance a zero emissions car may be an option worth considering.
On face value if we can overlook the missing rear seats, and large image of a plug on the roof the BMW Mini E looks very similar to the current BMW Mini One/ Cooper inside and out. However keeping the charming looks of the BMW Mini may be one thing, but the main concern to most will be whether the drive and reliability will be in line with its petrol drinking sister.
Thankfully for anyone thinking of signing up to the trial, the BMW Mini E is quick for an electric motor travelling from 0-60mph in 8.5 seconds, beaten only the Tesla Roadster in terms of road going electric cars. Being an electric car without an engine to gradually slow as the driver removes their foot from the accelerator, the electric BMW Mini E feels like it is braking when ones stops accelerating. This is due to power being effectively turned off, coupled with the large dynamo applied to the wheels to charge the car as it slows (I imagine the feeling is similar to that of fighter pilots landing on an aircraft carrier). Once the driver has become aware of how to approach junctions and the like, the car becomes a lot more enjoyable to drive, and the relative quiet of the engineless automobile adds yet another terror to the average London cyclist.
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There are clear benefits to the car and one must admire BMW for embracing a technology which could help massively reduce emissions, lowering the chances of the very city the cars are being trialled in from becoming a place accessed only with the use of scuba gear as the ice caps finally give in. The car does have its major draw backs in its current form: The first is clearly the complete lack of rear seats due to the large Lithium-ion battery meaning that to be environmentally friendly the kids would have to be put up for adoption, an option for hard core tree huggers only. What is more limited boot space would stop a suitcase from fitting in, although that won’t be a problem, as with an approximate 100 mile range, and 4.5 hour charge it’s unlikely you’ll be going too far.
So who exactly would this car be for? Probably the cash savvy who like tax less, cheap running cars (BMW Mini claim a fuel saving of 90%), whom care about the environment more than usability, drive in dense urban surrounding, have a garage (for the charger), no children, don’t do much shopping and have £330 a month for the pleasure. The honest truth however is that BMW are making great strides forward with this car, and if we can continue to improve the technology and make these more useable the use of electric cars in urban areas can only be a good thing.