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BMW Group Electric MINI to Debut at LA Auto Show in November

The MINI E. The zero-emission MINI will sport a plug logo in Interchange Yellow. Click to enlarge.

The BMW Group will introduce its battery-electric MINI E (earlier post) at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November. BMW says that it will deploy a fleet of some 500 of the all-electric vehicles for private use in daily traffic.

The MINI E will be powered by a 150 kW (204 hp) electric motor fed by a 35 kWh lithium-ion battery pack (28 kWh usable), with a single-stage helical gearbox transferring power to the front wheels. The MINI E’s electric drive train produces a peak torque of 220 Nm (162 lb-ft), with 0 to 100 kph acceleration in 8.5 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 152 kph (95 mph).The battery pack will support a range of more than 240 km (150 miles).

Based on the current MINI, the car will initially be available as a two-seater. The space taken up by back-seat passengers in the series model has been reserved for the lithium-ion battery pack. The 380V lithium-ion storage unit comprises 5,088 cells grouped into 48 modules. These modules are packaged into three battery elements that are compactly arranged inside the MINI E.

The MINI E’s lithium-ion battery can be plugged into all standard power outlets, with charge time dependent on the voltage and amperage of the electricity flowing through the grid. In the USA, MINI will provide its cusomtres with a fast-charging wallbox. To be installed in the customer’s garage, the wallbox enables higher amperage, and provides a full 28 kWh recharge after 2.5 hours. Based on the car’s range, a kilowatt hour translates into 5.4 miles (185 Wh/mile).

Regenerative braking can extend the car’s range by up to 20%.

The MINI E’s brake system comes with a newly developed electric underpressure pump. Its Electrical Power Assisted Steering (EPS) is the same as the one used in mass-produced MINIs. Both brake and steering assistance react to driving conditions and are thus extremely efficient. Even the air conditioning’s electrical compressor only operates if desired or necessary.

Weighing in at 1,465 kilograms (3,230 lbs), the MINI E has an even weight distribution. Minor modifications made to the suspension ensure safe handling at all times. The Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system has been adapted to this model’s specific wheel loads.

The MINI E will initially be made available to select private and corporate customers as part of a pilot project in the US states of California, New York and New Jersey. The possibility of offering the MINI E in Europe as well is currently being considered.

The limited-production MINI E series will be manufactured through the end of 2008 at the company’s Oxford and Munich sites. MINI’s UK plant will be responsible for manufacturing the entire vehicle with the exception of the drive components and the lithium-ion battery, with the brand’s series models rolling off its assembly lines concurrently. The units will then be transferred to a specially equipped manufacturing complex situated on BMW plant premises where the electric motor, battery units, performance electronics and transmission will be integrated.

MINI E customers will join forces with BMW Group experts to assist in the project’s evaluation. The cars will be offered on a one-year lease with an extension option. Monthly lease installments will cover any required technical service including all necessary maintenance and the replacement of wearing parts. At the end of the lease, all of the automobiles belonging to the project will be returned to the BMW Group’s engineering fleet where they will be subjected to comparative tests. Only lockable garages or similar buildings will qualify as homebases and power stations for the MINI E.

MINI will establish a service base on both coasts of the US, staffed by service engineers that are specially trained to perform maintenance and repair work on the MINI E’s electrical components. In the event of drive malfunction, these experts will provide professional support at the customer’s local MINI dealer or the service base’s specially equipped workshop. Technical inspections will take place after 3,000 miles (just under 5,000 kilometers) and at least after six months.

The MINI E has already gone through the major phases of product development for mass-produced vehicles and passed numerous crash tests on the way. Aspects investigated besides passenger protection were the impact of collision forces on the lithium-ion battery and finding a non-hazardous location for it in the car. The MINI E’s energy storage unit emerged completely unscathed from all of the crash tests mandated by US standards.

The BMW Group says that it plans to start series production of all-electric vehicles over the medium-term as part of its Number ONE strategy. The development of innovative concepts for mobility in big-city conurbations within the scope of “project i” has a similar thrust, as its objective also includes making use of an all-electric power train.



What you now want is a MINI swap facility whereby you can swap your e-mini for an ICE-mini on the occasional times when you want to go on a long run.

There isn't a lot of spare room in a Mini for a range extender - if BMW handled the insurance for you, it would make it easy. This is something lawmakers could legislate for if they wanted to help.

With a range of 150 miles, you probably don't need a charging station in work or at the mall.

It is a pity they can't get a standard charging system - the last thing you want is to have 20 different charging standards, but that seems to be the way we are going.

Even of you ended up with 2 or 3 you would have some chance, but if every manufacturer has a separate one, you have a silly situation.


Sign up to become one of the test drivers here:

Kit P

And just who will be able to afford this BEV aks EEV?

“Only lockable garages or similar buildings will qualify as homebases and power stations for the MINI E.”

Hint, you host a late night TV talk show.


Well you definetly dont want to try and recharge a car in a place vandals and nitwits can wreck it. And as these are leased I suspect thats a big reason for the lockable garage stipulation.


I have just read it again - it is a 2 seater! The whole of the back seat is a battery!
5088 cells in the battery .... sounds like we need bigger cells - that is a lot of connections.

I wonder could they build one with a 100 mile range and enough space in the rear for one fairly thin person?

I guess this demonstrates that we have a way to go before we get small 4 seater EVs - especially if you convert a car designed for an ICE where there is loads of power and energy - an EV specific design would probably get better range for the same battery pack, but would be weedier in general.
Interesting, also, that they have limited the top speed to 95 mph - I wonder is this so they can fit thinner, lower rolling resistance tyres.

On the car-swap idea, the MINIs you get in exchange could have an "EV swap" badge, so everyone would know that you were a "good" person.

Henry Gibson

No! No! No! Please not another Battery Electric Vehicle, BEV. There is always the big battery for the advertized moderate range and the acceleration has to be super class. Cut out the batteries from the rear seat and install the engine-generator cores, only, from three HONDA 1000is to get infinite range. Or get an OPOC engine generator. One pound of fuel can give up to ten miles of travel. Never a BEV!; even if the generator is only large model aicraft engine powered. The TZERO charger trailer was interesting and useful but how about two OPOC insertable suitcase units. ..HG..

"powered by a 150 kW (204 hp) electric motor"

- isn't this overkill for a two seater ?


"...electric underpressure pump" - does that mean vacuum?

Kit P


I read tech manuals all the time written by Germans in English. It is a hoot. Vacuum pump makes much sense.



Not so much, especially if no transmission is used. If it is direct drive DC, as I suspect it is, their goal was torque and the unnecessarily high HP number was a result of the torque necessary to motivate the vehicle. Don't forget that electric motors are >90% efficient over nearly their entire operating range, so its not like having an oversized ice and get huge aperture/pumping losses.


...and the lease will be:
$500/mo ... $1,000/mo ... $2,000/mo ?

could I also have my $700 billion now, no strings attached, with only one sheet of disclaimers ?


I find BMW a bit optimistic about range. Think City ( is in production, has the same battery capacity, lower weight and similar aerodynamics, but with rated range of 170kms.

Top speed can be limited for engine reasons (single speed gear box?) or simply because air resistance completely destroys "fuel" economy at those speeds.

At max power, this baby runs for 11 minutes (28kWh/150kw). Assuming that is at 152kph, it gets a range of 28 kms or 17 miles...


i want one
is perfect .
bravo BMW

Kit P


“Don't forget that electric motors are >90% efficient over nearly their entire operating range, so its not like having an oversized ice and get huge aperture/pumping losses.”

Really, I do not think you can find electric motors that are >90% efficient over any part of their operating range. Don't forget you have to generate the electricity, convert it to DC, and store it in batteries.

So GreenPlease, have you ever looked at the performance curves of any of the parts of the system?

Looking at the entire life cycle of BEV, they are not a green choice.


I think it is also important to standardize outlets and connectivity so that it becomes less of headache for renters as they move around, or the military and other professionals who move around quite often.

What proportion of drivers have a lockable garage, since nobody is also talking about peopel in condos, hotels and aprtments. With housing in a meltdown I think we have more people renting now and also more younger people are likely to want these kinds of vehicles, and many of them do not own homes so they are in the renters segment.

If batteries become interchangeable, then recharging could be avoided if there are places to stop and swap batteries for a fee, just like you do gasoline.

Given the abaility phones to now use GPS systems or go online we can have an On-Star for battery stations. So on your adroid phone you just go to googlemaps and find nearest battery swapping station just as you would if you were looking for a gas station.

Ultimately we could have lots of people and grocery stores offering such swapping stations probably at a discount as well especally if they use sollar to recharge the batteries. I note that one huge benefit of rooftop solar panels is that they also provide shade to the building so they actually lower power consumption by reducing direct sun hitting the roof. As such they may be able to offer charged batteries at a lower fee.

A system would be setup that tracks each battery so that after 10 swaps it has to be swapped at a major service place and get recertified.



Please have a closer look at BYD products for the kind of vehicles (PHEV & BEV) you seem to want.

They will be on the market place (in USA?) within 12 months.


If you've every tried using the backseat of a MINI you'll know that it's really a two seater anyway. I like the idea of wheel motors for a mini with the battery under the hood, but then if this uses a tesla-like battery you'd have to put it where it's safe.

KitP: "Looking at the entire life cycle of BEV, they are not a green choice." what a load of troll droppings. ... Maybe compared to a bicycle.



Do you know where one can buy small (20 to 40 KW) OPOC gensets?



Don't know of any 40kWh APUs but Advanced Propulsion Tech. makes a 5kWh unit:

There is some work on free piston engines/genset that are claiming 40kWh output. So far no working prototypes.


It's like BMW made this decision, after they saw Tesla roadster announcement in 2006:

"Let's build quickly our first BEV using the same (proven) approach as Tesla, using our front wheel drive Mini".

If you compare specs of Tesla roadster and Mini BEV, everything in Mini is reduced by about 25-30% (power, torque, battery capacity, number of batt cells, range). BMW also seem to use induction motor, and batt pack with thousands of small cells.
Only the acceleration is much slower - understandable for a FWD and weaker motor.

As major car makers start releasing their own BEVs, Tesla may have to stop developing new models, and instead concentrate on development of inverters, induction motors (and control systems for them) and battery pack control systems, for other car makers.

In other words to adopt business model similar to Italian car design studios like Pininfarina and ItalDesign and do contracts for others.



Really, I do not think you can find electric motors that are >90% efficient over any part of their operating range. Don't forget you have to generate the electricity, convert it to DC, and store it in batteries.

What are you talking about? The efficiency of a BEV or the efficiency of an electric motor? GreenPlease did not claim that a BEV is 90% efficient, he was only talking about the electric motor.

Looking at the entire life cycle of BEV, they are not a green choice.

That depends completely on how you produce and recycle the BEV. So making a general remark like this for an entire category of vehicles is not believable.

Kit P


“That depends completely ....”

The primary environmental impact of POVs is the energy used in during operation.



Tesla already announced that they will focus on powertrains during the recession to save cash. Also layoffs of 50% and closing offices outside California. But they buy their transmission so all they makes are motors and controllers -- old school technology that many people make all over the world.

They will keep making their Lotus electric. I guess rich people will still buy it when they get their bailout check from wall street?

This may well kill them off if BMW makes it cheap enough.

Who would buy a car from an unknown when you could get one from BMW? At least you have an established company who has made cars for 50 years to stand behind it.

Problem is still the battery. a bit fewer cells than the Tesla, but still a huge number kludged together. Batteries are still not there yet.


@ Youpidou,

"At max power, this baby runs for 11 minutes (28kWh/150kw). Assuming that is at 152kph, it gets a range of 28 kms or 17 miles..."

No, it is electronically limited to 95 mph, at which speed it will likely not be using more than 35 kW (47 bhp). At this rate, the pack would discharge in 0.8 h for a range at top speed of 76 miles.


@ Clett

Very good point.
High power levels are used for fast acceleration. If cars were running in vacuum there wouldn't be air resistance, only rolling resistance.
Even in absence of air resistance, cars need to apply power to accelerate, as the spacecrafts do.
My calculations show that the motor in current Tesla roadster develops the highest power at about 120 kmph, accelerating hard (or some uphill at those speeds).
At lower speeds it cannot develop that power because of el. current limits.

@ JV

so all they makes are motors and controllers -- old school technology that many people make all over the world.

Tesla latest version of the induction motor (Powertrain 1.5 - 185 kW) has most likely the lowest weight (110 lb) than anybody else's design for that power, ie highest power density.
And works up to 14,000 rpm.
They licenced the motor design from AC Propulsion, then improved it.
I don't know if they can resell those motors, but probably can reach some deal with AC Propulsion.

PM motors may have higher power density, but are not good at high rpm.

BMW may be using a Siemens motor (my guess, they also specialize in copper-rotor induction motors - they build trains).

Naturally best motor or engine control system can be developed by its maker, they know it the best.
Sometimes motor control system is slightly modified for each unit to get max performance.

There are several exotic supercars, they all will need an induction motor in coming years in order to be able to claim very low times for 0-60 mph. Even Ferrari, actually it would make sense for them to buy Tesla motors.

BMW or 'Lotus'?
Lotus is highly regarded sports car marque, not inferior to BMW in terms of handling.
Some people never buy German cars, because of what they did in WW2.
And many are not brand-slaves.

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