• Jan 6, 2009
Click above for a high-res gallery of the MINI E's unveiling

Is the new MINI E sold out? If by "rented through," yes, it looks like you may have missed your opportunity to be a beta tester for BMW's new electric Cooper.

BMW is leasing around 500 of the diminutive hatchbacks at a cost of $850-a-month (including insurance) for one year in the New York/New Jersey metro area as well as Southern California, and according to a new Bloomberg News story, applicants for the program have outnumbered the cars by more than a 4-to-1 ratio, though there is always the possibility that not all of the cars have been doled out yet.

If you're still pondering how you might be able to muscle your way to the front of the queue, be prepared for some changes from your everyday motoring routine. For one, the MINI E's range is limited to 120 miles, at which point you'll have to plug the car into the 220-volt outlet you've had installed in your garage. If you're stuck away from home, you can plug the MINI E into a 110-volt wall outlet, but be prepared to wait-a charge takes about 26 hours (versus around three for the 220-volt outlet). Beyond that, expect for MINI to require you to keep track of your driving experience with a diary and various online surveys.

Despite all of the various hoops to jump through, we're not at all surprised to learn that the opportunity to noiselessly motor about in a zero-emissions Cooper has charmed more than 2000 lease applicants. Given the brand's fanatical (and generally well-heeled) following, we're almost surprised that the number isn't higher. So don't feel bad if you applied for a MINI E of your very own, only to get turned down. Besides, there's always the PML MINI QED...


[Bloomberg News]


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  • 18 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm sorry, but a Mini with 500 lbs. of battery sitting where the back seats used to be is completely useless. Part of the Mini's charm was that it could at least carry a few things in it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm still not sure what has been accomplished here other than PR. This program is still mirroring the EV1, and thus now breaking any new ground (although people in NJ may disagree slightly). Getting 2,000 applicants isn't real difficult, GM had more than that, the problem is most applicants aren't qualified, typically because they cannot get a 220V outlet in their apartment stall.
      • 6 Years Ago
      standard current from the grid in the UK is 240 volts, does that mean you wouldn't need a special plug installed over here?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Sort of.

        In the UK, a standard plug is 240V, but it's only 13A. That means it can charge almost twice as fast as a US regular plug. However, the 220V outlet you can install at your house in the US to charge faster is 40A (or more, Tesla requests 70A), so it charges more than twice as fast as the UK plug.

        So a UK plug should be faster than 26 hours, but not 3.

        This topic has come up a bit on ab and abg, and Europeans have said that because a regular plug is so powerful, getting a high-current plug is a bit more involved in Europe (unlike in the US where every house typically has 3 or more high-current/high-voltage circuits), so they may be in a bit of a pickle trying to get to that fast charging. If true, I can't see how it would last forever, Europe will adapt.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I read the title and screamed "YES!!!" and continued to read and said: why not just get the Mini John Cooper Works package? I mean, thats why people buy electric, right? For the torque?

      Mike Womack
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hello,
      It's about the gas, It's not the price we have to pay it's overcoming americans love of oil. Think before you write.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @Mike Womack
        You sound like one of the people from the Southpark episode "Smug Alert"

        "Hello" "Thannnnnnnkkkkkssss"

        /rolls eyes

        Get over yourself. It's $850 a month to make idiots feel better about themselves. A smart person would take their own car, or get a cheap gas sipper and donate the money to something actually useful towards clean energy (solar power, et al.) Or send the money to a college fund so that it can send kids to college so they can become engineers and scientists (the real people who will get us on clean energy)
        • 6 Years Ago
        @Mike Womack
        That sounds wonderful and all but it is actually all about the Benjamins.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @Mike Womack
        Womack: You should take your own advice.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Lord I must be getting old because I'm thinking $850.00 a month 'beta lease' for a Mini Cooper seems barmy. A Mini, for $850.00 a month because it's electric? So much for economical hard times.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Good to see electric cars being tested in a northern climate, where you'd need to run the heater as well. I wonder what the max distance would be after heating up the interior of the car, with the batteries already at -5. Half? Even less?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don't understand how a 120-mile range is going to force me to change my "Every day" driving routine.

      My "Driving to Grandmas house" or "Driving across country" routine? Maybe, but my "Every Day" routine? No.

      My brother in law has the longest commute of anybody I personally know, and his commute is only about 70 miles. Although I'm sure somebody will chime in and mention their 200 mile /daily/ commute, I'm sure the great majority of us drive less than 120 miles/day.

      It only bothers me because of how much the Press harped on electric cars back in the EV1s day and age.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I don't know about you but I've driven more than 50 miles just driving around town to different places. If I actually had to commute(and there are places in america where you need to commute) I'd be screwed
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