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BMW to Apply Start-Stop and Brake Regen to MINIs; Up to 60 MPG US

BMW will begin applying its start-stop and regenerative braking systems—now used in 1- and 5-Series BMW models (earlier post)—to MINI hatch models later this year, with resulting improved performance and efficiency. The MINI Cooper D—already the most fuel efficient of the line—will offer fuel consumption of 3.9 liters/100km (60 mpg US) and CO2 emissions of 104 g/km.

BMW’s Brake Energy Regeneration uses an Intelligent Alternator Control (IAC) and an Absorbent Glass Mat lead-acid battery for energy storage. The IAC reduces drag on the engine by only engaging when required to charge the battery, whereas a traditional alternator is always pulling power from the engine.

Additionally, the energy generated by the engine on over-run (under braking or descending a hill) was previously wasted. Now this lost energy is utilized by the IAC to charge the battery.

The Auto Start-Stop Function, available with manual transmission cars, automatically switches the engine off when the vehicle is stationary and the driver puts the car into neutral. To restart, the driver only need engage the clutch again before pulling away in the normal manner. The system may be de-activated at the touch of a button when not required.

Switch Point Display aids drivers of manual transmission MINIs in selecting the most economical gear in which to drive. The engine management system analyses speed, road situation and accelerator pedal position and based on this data calculates optimum gearing. The ideal gear is then displayed by number in the cockpit display.

BMW said that even prior to the application of the start-stop and regenerative braking systems, MINI had reduced CO2 output per vehicle by an average 14% last year, compared to an industry average of 0.3%.

Comments

Richard

They are holding to their word of making cars more efficient, funny how a small car company like that can do it, but GM, Ford, and et all can't! Who are they kidding? Anybody know when this car will be available and how much it will cost?

Nick

This raises the obvious question: why don't all cars work this way? It would seem that applying such micro-hybrid technology to all new cars & trucks is a practical, low-cost way to have a huge impact on fuel usage and CO2 emissions.

Lad

Good job by the engineers and management of BMW; now if the other auto companies would build efficiency into their autos, we might have a chance at reducing GHGs and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

Patrick

Well, the "D" version probably won't be sold in the US for awhile as it is diesel.

I bet the base gasoline versions with this methodology applied are reaching nearly 40mpg mixed mode (since it is supposed to hit 42hwy/ low 30s city without these advances).

I hate the looks of the Mini, but given the performance (handling), and gas mileage I may just buy the newest base model version if it includes the aforementioned techniques/technologies described in this article.

Better than toyota corolla or honda civic gas mileage with handling on par with a Mazda3!

Stan Peterson

Richard,

GM had offered micro Hybrids in ther 2003-2004 timeframe on many vehicles, Satursn and some trucks. All they received for their efforts were hoots of derision, because the mocro-Hybrids weren't as good, (But not as expensive) as the full Hybrid Prius drivetrain.

Now that a gloried foreign auto-maker appears with the same technology 5 years later, you applaude it, and criticize American comapnies.

Way to go, fella !

Max Reid

Stan - GM offered this only in a Chevy and GMC trucks and Saturn Vue Hybrid, but I guess it did not sell well and GM did not say how many they sold, thereby putting the vehicle in the sidelines.

If the Mini with a gas version giving 55 MPG will give a big boost to this technology.

Kevin

Stan,

Get a grip, if US car companies could build decent cars the invasion of the market space would not have happened to the extent that it has

The US companies have lost the lead in innovation to others, maybe if they had stuck to their guns, as Toyota did with the Prius (remember the scoffs of GM executives saying Toyota were losing money on every hybrid!!) they would have growing market share rather than shrinking

Neil

Patrick: How can you not like the looks of the Mini?!? Don't worry if you don't, the ladies love the car. Go for silver with a black roof, that's what I had. (traded it in for my electric motorcycle in a fit of environmental zeal)

Bob Bastard

Stan, what is important, the technology or the end results? The GM vehicles you mention struggle to get 30 miles per gallon, and don't really do any single thing that well (a problem shared by most SUVs). I'm guessing that is the reason they weren't received very well. This mini gets 60 mpg, has good acceleration, nice handling, and styling that a lot of people find appealing. I can't speak for everyone, but I have nothing against GM other than the fact that they basically don't sell cars in the US that I find practical and appealing (sorry, I'm not in the market for an SUV, or one of their many indistinguishable V6 powered automatic transmission sedans). In fact, though, I own two classic Chevys (appealing but not practical), and if Chevy started selling Volts tomorrow for under $30K, I would buy one yesterday.

Nick

Richard--

Vue hybrid BAS system is somewhat similar, yes, and it does provide about 20% mileage improvement. Unfortunately the Vue is apparently not a very desirable small SUV/car overall. Perhaps the redesigned 2008 model will fare better.

Nick

My last post to Stan, not Richard (oops).

DieselHybrid

I wrote to MINI USA asking about a Diesel version for the US market. They sent back the standard response:

"No plan to offer diesels in the US market at this time..."

Shame... I'm sure the US could use real-world, no kidding (no compromise in performance) +50mpg commuters right about now.

Patrick

Neil,

The ladies do love it...just as they love the modern Beetle, but I am not a lady and thus a car designed to appeal to them does not appeal to me. The recent Lancer appeals to me, but I doubt many women find it to be a car they would like to drive based on looks alone. Cuteness does not sell a car to me...handling performance, fuel efficiency, safety and reliability sell a car to me (otherwise I wouldn't be able to get over the looks of the mini cooper even if it achieved 100mpg and could do the 1/4 mile in 10 seconds).

Charles S

I'm a fan of the MINI, and I happened to be an owner of one (and I own a hybrid car too). If people have follow BMW's PR, BMW have been trash-talking about hybrids for years, and there is no exception for the release of this news. The press article is peppered with bones in regards to hybrids. The irony is that we know BMW have been working on hybrid-related technologies on the side, and I'm waiting for them to do a 180 eventually.


Anyways, I just want to clarify that a MINI D is a WORLD away from the MINI Cooper S, and I think we need to see the big picture about the MINI market base here in US.

First, I *HIGHLY* doubt the core MINI audience will care about the MINI D.

Why? As part of the community here in the US, I read all kinds of opinions. Cooper S model outsells the regular, more efficient Cooper. And while Cooper S is advertised at 29 mpg HWY, the first gen S usually get less than 23 combined, as reported by my local club. Even for the base Cooper, while I optimize my driving behavior and can regular achieve 34 mpg-combined (and I can do close to 40 mpg per tank in some occasions), others in my club can barely break 30-combined. I suspect most of that is due to lead-foot driving, apathy, after market add-ons, etc.

Second, in terms of performance, the MINI D would not be comparable to the base US MINI Cooper. The first gen MINI ONE-D does 0-60 in 13.5 seconds. This would ruin the current MINI's US image of a quick, nimble "FUN" car; the core selling point that MINI USA have spent years to cultivate.

Last is the issue of cost. I've been to other forums where hybrid-bashers LOVE to ride on the payback period of the hybrid-premium, and they would certainly mentioned this new MINI D as a hybrid fighter. The problem of course is that a MINI is not cheap in the first place, and with the addition of such technology, it MAY cost slightly less than a hybrid, but it'd still be thousands more, compare to smaller non-hybrids cars.

While I LOVE the MINI for what it could be, the US version of MINI would never be anything close to what BMW's PR would like to make it out to be.

Neil

Patrick: You missed my point. The car is a chick magnet (unless of course you're not into such things) Oh, and you don't have to be female to like the looks of it either (although I prefer the Elise or MR2).

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