The coming-to-a-city-near-you Electric Vehicle (EV) drive is on and many automakers are clamoring to get in on it. But do you actually drive these things… or wear them?
The new MINI Cooper Convertible features a 1.6 liter four banger with fully variable valve management thanks to BMW Group’s unique VALVETRONIC technology. It will take you to 60 mph in under ten seconds and – with its upgraded suspension – will feel even more go-kart-like in doing it. And you’ll get over 40 mpg. The Cooper S will get you there in just over 7 seconds and still sip only 36 mpg.
The point being:& do we even need an electric city car?
Evidently, there must be some law somewhere that dictates that electrically-powered vehicles must look “futuristic” (read: ugly). They must be tiny (aka: unsafe at any speed). As if to say “hey, I’m so concerned about my planet that I don’t care how silly I look driving to work!”
Still, if you MUST, you should know that MINI already has a pilot program underway in New York, New Jersey and California (see MINI E Looking For Drivers) that will collect real-world driving experiences from 500 test MINI E drivers and apply that knowledge to developing production cars running entirely on electrical power.
Best of all, they look and feel exactly like the current MINIs!
Performance-wise, they will still move you – literally and emotionally – with 0-60 times around 8.5 seconds. Although they are, by their nature, heavier than their gas-powered counterparts, BMW has accounted for that with beefier suspensions.
So… as the weeks pile up in 2009 you will undoubtedly be seeing EV offerings from most of the usual suspects. They will probably sport some “smart” green-sounding brand name and predictably look um, futuristic. But try to resist the impulse to jump on the early electric bandwagon just yet. The Electric MINI is on the way to help you save the planet with emissions-free motoring without looking silly doing it.
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