Mini Electric Car Trials Charge BMW Plan

An electric version BMW’s cute Mini car, which was undergoing trials here in the United States last year, has apparently also been undergoing trials in the United Kingdom. The first six months of the year long field trials have produced some interesting findings that will help shape the specification and operating characteristics of BMW’s Megacity electric vehicle, which will make its debut in 2013.

BMW said that key findings from the first six months of U.K. field trials included that Mini E usage differs only marginally from a control group of Mini Cooper and BMW 116i drivers in terms of average journey distance, daily mileage and frequency of use; that before the trials began, users expected limitations in terms of range and charging times, while in practice these have only proved to be barriers in a very few specific cases; that there was a very strong feeling from both private and fleet users that renewable energy should play an important role in future electricity generation; and that users reported a need for more interior space for journeys requiring more passengers and more storage capacity.

Mini E

image via BMW

Drawbacks thus far pointed out in the field trials included current mileage range for certain journeys, limited carrying capacity and sub-optimal car performance during the extremely cold weather conditions in December 2009 and January 2010. And, when asked about whether one would actually buy a Mini E, it was found that thus far those in the trials would, for the most part, be interested in purchasing one.

“The early learning from this first stage of the Mini E trials has given us very positive feedback and pointers as to where we will need to improve” explained Jochen Goller, Director of Mini UK, in a statement. “One has to remember that Mini E, despite being very thoroughly engineered for its task, is in the end a modified existing production Mini Hatch.  An EV designed from the ground up will be able to address some of the criticism on packaging and driving range.  That is precisely the reason we are holding these trials.”

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I am the editor-in-chief and founder for EarthTechling. This site is my desire to bring the world of green technology to consumers in a timely and informative matter. Prior to this my previous ventures have included a strong freelance writing career and time spent at Silicon Valley start ups.