When the BMW launched the Mini E lease program a year ago, many potential drivers were dissappointed that they would only get to drive the cars for 12 months. Today at the Detroit Auto Show, Mini USA announced an extension to the program and current Mini E drivers will be offered the opportunity to extend their leases on the battery-powered cars.
The announcement came a few hours after BMW unveiled the ActiveE concept, which is a battery-powered version of the 1 series coupe. BMW's plan is to conduct a similar but larger field test with the new cars. Unlike the Mini E, which used a battery and powertrain supplied by AC Propulsion, the ActiveE is done largely in-house by BMW (except for the battery).
According to BMW spokesman Tom Salkowsky, the ActiveE lease program is expected to begin in mid-2011. Mini E drivers will have the option to extend their leases until the ActiveE is ready, at which point they will offered a chance to migrate to the new cars.