The BMW Group will loan a fleet of 10 MINI E (earlier post) electric zero-emissions cars to the City of New York. New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg made the announcement during his State-of-the-City speech.
These vehicles will be used in the city’s Street Condition Observation Unit, known as SCOUT, and will be among the 500 MINI Es the BMW Group is producing as part of a one-year pilot field study to determine the viability of electric vehicles in real life use. The MINI Es will be used by SCOUT inspectors who drive New York City’s streets in search of street conditions, such as potholes and graffiti. The vehicles are scheduled to begin arriving in April.
SCOUT vehicle operators help identify problems on New York City streets and ascertain whether complaints logged into the City’s 311 phone system are being adequately addressed. SCOUT vehicles log nearly 100 miles per day.
The MINI E is the first product of BMW’s Project i, a program designed to research and develop transportation strategies and new types of vehicles specifically to meet the needs of the world’s growing mega-cities, of which New York is one.
The MINI E can travel more than 150 miles on a single charge and provides the agility and handling of a MINI Cooper. It is driven by a 150 kW electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery.
MINI will install a special wall box into each MINI E customer’s garage that can fully recharge a completely drained battery in just two-and-a-half hours.
The 500 MINI Es will be deployed in New York and New Jersey and Los Angeles metropolitan areas with additional vehicles being tested in Berlin, Germany and London, England.
Of the 500 US vehicles, 450 will be leased to customers that applied online at MINIUSA.com to be part of the one-year field study. The others will be dedicated to full-time extensive and intense daily use in select fleets, such as the NYC SCOUT fleet. Those selected will be asked to provide ongoing real world use feedback to BMW on their experience with the zero-emission electric cars. More than twice the number of people applied as there are cars available in the US.
BMW has also arranged to provide MINI Es to the city of Los Angeles to test the MINI E in conditions different from those in New York City.