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MINI E – Click above for high-res image gallery

Mini made a bold decision to offer its electric prototype to consumers for a year-long trial. Sure, there were a few issues here and there, but the overall experience was reportedly quite enjoyable. As BMW gets ready to mass produce electric vehicles (EVs) soon, the company wants to see just how much current Mini E lessees really love their little cars. To that end, the company has offered year-long lease renewals to all individuals who currently have a Mini E, fleet customers excluded.

According to the company, half of all current lessees agreed to the extension and will therefore get another year behind the wheel of the Mini E. This time around, lessees will only be charged $600 per month, a reduction from the previous monthly lease rate of $850. Now, we're sure that the reduced price had some effect on customer renewals, but it's still quite remarkable to see that interest in this little EV has not waned after a years' worth of seat time.




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  • 19 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Greetings from Mini-E #183 @ 14,500 miles

      I love my Mini-E powered by sunshine, and jumped at the chance to renew at $600 a month. The Mini-E is the best and most fun car I have driven in 32 years (yes that means that I am 48) of driving. This includes some pretty nice cars along the way.

      The Mini-E “Pioneer” lease cannot be compared to a “standard” lease as all of the cost including insurance are included. For example a mid to mid high range car on a 2 year lease would be:

      $2999 due at signing
      $350 a month lease
      $80 a month insurance
      $60 a month (tires, brakes, maintenance)
      $150 a month gas
      $1000 for over miles (15 k driven 10k allowed with .20 cents a mile charge)
      $1000 lease end adjustment for excess wear and tear and damage)

      This equals $848 a month real cost for the $350 a month lease comparison.

      So you can see how the $600 a month cost is a good deal or at least in line with other gas leases.

      A great poll question would be what percentage of gas car drivers would want to keep their higher priced cars after the first year of fun is done, with the car starting to get a little long in the tooth, if the option was that they could simple turn it back in at the end of one year at no cost.

      My guess is less that 20%.

      Thanks for covering the Mini-E story!

      Cheers
      Peder
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm OK with the idea, but let's try to compare things a little more closely. On the Mini USA web site, I found the following lease for a Mini Cooper (which has an actual back seat):
        $2000 down
        $250 a month lease
        $50 a month insurance
        $0 a month (tires, brakes, maintenance)
        $87 a month gas
        $0 for over miles
        $0 lease end adjustment for excess wear and tear and damage

        Notes:
        - Mini is offering free maintenance over the lease term
        - The lease allows for 12K miles per year (which is the national average).
        - I put the over mileage at zero dollars because you should work the lease to match your miles, not simply pay an absurd overage.
        - I calculated the gas using the national average price per gallon, the EPA's combined estimate for mpg, and 1000 miles per month.
        - Take care of your car so you don't have to pay damages.
        - The lease listed was a 36 month lease
        - I did an online insurance quote at progressive.com to get the rate

        The average per month comes to $442, which is almost half of what you calculated.

        Of course, my current car is paid for. Driving it is money in the bank.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Let's not forget, electricity isn't free. I know EV proponents find ways to calculate electricity as being a non-issue. I spend quite a bit on electricity every month to simply power things in my house. Propelling cars requires an incredible amount of power. I'm not going to attempt the math, because I don't feel good about any of the math I've seen so far.

        "I love my Mini-E powered by sunshine"

        I don't know if you were just saying this or if it's really true. To pull off 12K miles per year, powered on sunshine, you're going to need one heck of a large solar array and storage system. The cost of such a system is tremendous.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Thanks for pointing out those cost differences. I hadn't thought about them, and the post certainly didn't make them obvious.
        • 4 Years Ago
        nrb: I'm interested by your statement that 'you don't like the math'.

        Cost of electricity: national average retail cost is ~$0.12/kWh
        EVs typically consume ~250 Wh/mile, measured coming out of the battery.
        There is some loss between your home's electric meter and the battery. On our e-Boxes it is ~10%, which I think is pretty typical.

        So 250 Wh/mile / 90% efficiency ~= 280 Wh/mile at the meter.
        280 Wh/mile * 1000 miles/month = 280 kWh/month.
        280 kWh/month * $0.12/kWh = $33.60/month.

        About a buck a day. If you have any objections to this presentation of "the math" I'd be interested to hear them.
        • 4 Years Ago
        GoodCheer, yours is more reasonable that some that I see. You put it at 38% the cost of (road taxed) gasoline.

        My concerns have to do with charging losses, storage losses, temperature (hot and cold) efficiency, vehicle equivalence (don't compare a MiniE to a HighLander), usage rates, accessory (heating & cooling) consumption, etc. It also doesn't work out in my gut when it comes to the sheer amount of power needed to propel a 4000lb car. I just don't feel as if everything is being taken into account.

        I may eventually trust the math, but my gut isn't letting me yet.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Thanks for reminding us what a waste of money cars are and how signing bonuses and other extra fees are used to gouge customers.

        I bet the re-sign percentage would be higher if the mini had a usable back seat & cargo area. I have seen other mini electric conversions that left more usable space in the car.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's nice to see a car company that has a little heart. Much better than GM who went to criminal extents to remove the EV1 from their customers. It bothered me to think about what was going to happen to the Mini E at the end of all this.
        • 4 Years Ago
        And once they use the results from the Mini-E trial to introduce new models of electric cars, and crank them out by the thousands, they'll really be circumventing that pesky law!
        • 4 Years Ago
        BMW is behind it and they have no heart. only a pump of black oil
        they did it for the circumvention of california law. BMW is one of the absolutely worst companies when it comes to EVs.

        they even went so far as to dial down the electric power of the minis. wouldn't want the drivers to like it too much
      • 4 Years Ago
      By offering to extend leases, BMW is already looking better than GM did during the EV1 fiasco.
        • 4 Years Ago
        GM leased the EV1 from 1996 to 2003. BMW/Mini leased the Mini-E from 2009 to present. They have quite a few years left to catch up with GM.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Not only that, but doing so at a reduced cost, too!
      • 4 Years Ago
      What does "half" mean in your language?
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Now, we're sure that the reduced price had some effect on customer renewals, but it's still quite remarkable to see that interest in this little EV has not waned after a years' worth of seat time."

        Usually, when you drop the price of a product by 30%, you get *more* interest - having half of the original market back away after a price decrease... that sounds like interest has waned among the original test group.

        I would like to hear from the lessees who decided to not renew, and find out what their reasons were.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Seeing that they had 450 people on the first round, I suspect "half" would be around 225 people.

        Something tells me that's either not the point you're trying to make or you have some information that I missed.
      • 4 Years Ago
      BMW should talk to this guy, to redesign the Mini E:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scMd_5C-vOg&feature=related

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xT-zvFv9IrA&feature=related

      It's got the same (or better?) range, it's got a backseat, and it has got most of the boot, too.

      Sincerely, Neil
      • 4 Years Ago
      Notice that their commerical lessees were not given the option. That "half" stat is only for those that used it for personal transportation.

      I agree with LTAW that half isn't good, particularly with such a big drop in the lease amount, no matter how you slice it. I, too, would like to see what the top 5 reasons were for those who didn't want to go back. I have a feeling it has a lot to do with not having a back seat compared to the ICE Mini.
      harlanx6
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'll take a Leaf lease for "half" the price!
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