The Mini E formula seemed questionable when the details were first released. Were people willing to shell out $850 a month to drive a converted Mini Cooper that only seats two and has a 100-mile range? That question was answered earlier this year when BMW offered year-long lease renewals to existing lease holders, and half of the lessees signed up. Granted, the cost was reduced to $600 a month, including insurance and maintenance, just like the original lease, but still.

The excitement of these drivers hasn't died down, and many, such as Tom Mologhney have their own blogs where they promote their diminutive electric vehicle (EV). Mologhney has even given test drives to over 100 people, many complete strangers. So, what is it about the Mini E that generates such enthusiasm? Jim Dow, 67, of Newport Beach, California told USA Today, "It's the car of choice, the one everyone in the family fights over." Dow owns a Ford F250 and BMW X3 in addition to the Mini E, but he said everyone in his family wants to drive the electric car. "The first six months I didn't touch the other cars," Dow said. "The truck sat for six months before I went to use it and then the battery was dead."

The drivers love the torque of the electric motor and the aggressive regenerative braking means the brake pedal's use is at a minimum. The 100-mile range appears to be the sweet spot suited to daily commutes according to Mini E spokesman Dave Buchko. The drivers aren't the only ones who like the EVs; BMW is using this feedback for the Active E four-seat EV due mid-2011. Ultimately, it appears the success of this program can't be attributed to specs of the machine or a pricing numbers game, but rather from a vehicle that people really enjoy driving.

[Source: USA Today]


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