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Spy Shots
Spy Shots

There are two primary takeaways from a recent study of electric-vehicle driving habits in Germany. One: an electric vehicle with 25 percent of its battery charge left creates the same reaction in drivers as the fuel needle on "E" in a gas-powered car. Two: familiarity breeds comfort.

Spy Shots

It's no surprise that Mini is working on an updated Mini E electric vehicle. Just a few weeks ago, the automaker's brand manager, Peter Schwarzbauer, said an electric Mini "fits perfectly with the brand, and I am convinced that we will offer a suitable solution." After all, parent company BMW has been evolving the all-electric powertrain from the original Mini E to the ActiveE and on into the i3. It only makes sense that Mini gets some EV love back, right?


BMW spent years evolving the all-electric powertrain it introduced in the Mini E back in 2008. The first big change was when the original Mini E was cancelled and the ActiveE was introduced in 2011. Then we have the quantum leap into the i3. If a report over on BMW Blog is correct, we might one day go full circle back to an electric Mini.


The San Francisco US press launch of the teeny-tiny two-seat 2008 Smart Fortwo involved an interesting presentation and drive experience. I learned that its history dates back to the late 1980s when SMH (Swatch watches) CEO Nicolas Hayek decided that a substantial number of people wanted a small, stylish city car that was built like a Swatch watch with Swatch-type personalization.


If nothing else, we can thank BMW for giving us the rare opportunity to post a picture of one of its classic, super-boxy '70s models. In this case, it's an electrified version of its 1602, the progenitor to the popular 2002. The 1602 was the German automaker's first foray into electric-vehicle production, and the company made two of them to ferry officials for the 1972 Munich Summer Olympic Games around. The cars had a single-charge range of just 37 miles.


For the Los Angeles Auto Show next week, BMW will show off a new i3 concept – "admittedly a tease," we were told – and not some sort of plug-in i4, as had been rumored. While we won't be seeing the production version of the city electric, the good news is that each iteration of the concept does bring us closer to the production version. For example, the i3 on display in New York as part of BMW's "Born Electric" tour last week still had glass doors. It's pretty obvious that the produc

The name Peder Norby should be familiar to anyone who's been involved with BMW's all-electric MiniE program. The driver of MiniE #183 has put 36,000 sun-powered miles on his EV and has long been a strong proponent of getting more people to make the shift to electric vehicles. His latest target? His wife Julie, who will be using the upcoming ActiveE when BMW makes Norby give the MiniE back and gives him the all-electric 1 Series coupe in return.

As electric cars begin to penetrate the mainstream commercial marketplace, much has been made of the issue of "range anxiety"--that uneasy feeling you get before your EV runs out of juice, leaving you stranded on the side of the road with a power cord in hand and no outlet in sight. General Motors even sought to trademark the term, possibly to be used in promotion of their "extended-range" electric Chevy Volt. But, when you analyze the habits of most drivers, is "range anxiety" even a rational f

BMW Group, along with Vattenfall Europe, has announced that the Mini E field trial in Berlin, Germany is entering phase two. In total, seventy of the electrified Minis will hit the roads, with 30 going to private customers and 40 earmarked for fleet users.

Since its launch in 2008, participants in the Mini E program, a lease program for the 612 all-electric Mini Es, had no official electronic communication system with BMW regarding their electric vehicles. This is why lessees often resorted to posting their questions and frustrations on MINI E's Facebook page. BMW addressed some of the issues raised through an emailed monthly newsletter called "Plugged In." This wasn't an ideal situation – and BMW has learned from its mistake. Realizing the

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.

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