We've heard the stories about the charging problems with BMW's MINI E lease program and understand that paying $850 a month for one of these electric cars doesn't appeal to everyone. Still, the issues that some early adopters are dealing with with these EVs are pretty dramatic: the car going into neutral when you step on the accelerator is a big one, as is paying an extra $1,500 for a home wiring upgrade. Also, the MINI E sends out a warning that the batteries are too hot when the ambient temperature is high. BMW recommends that, when this happens, drivers take a break, maybe smell the roses or something like that. More standard ailments – like brakes that need repair – are also present in the MINI E fleet.
BusinessWeek makes the case that the people who are shelling out for the MINI Es are more than willing to put up with hassles than "regular" car. An auto analyst told BusinessWeek that, until there is a battery breakthrough, "some of these cars will go begging for buyers." But there's a possibility that this is the wrong way to look at the issue. For ages, people have put up with filling their vehicles at smelly gas stations every couple hundred miles. Will the relative ease and lower cost of driving on electrons – even with all of the inherent problems of the early technology – be able to make us rethink which is a bigger hassle some day?