The new electric Mini is quietly seeking drivers and if you’re interested in a lease, you are not alone.
In just the two weeks after MiniUSA.com started showing off the new Mini E, nearly 10,000 people signed up for more information. This, for only 500 vehicles, to be spread out in California, New York and New Jersey.
Lease prices are reportedly in the high $800’s per month – a nice chunk of change but not dramatically more than a standard Mini lease offering.
The Mini E sports a 35 kW battery that weights 573 lbs. and is so big the rear seats had to be removed to accommodate it. (The whole thing is so heavy, in fact, that at 3230 lbs. the entire suspension had to be re-tuned!) It can be charged in just over eight hours, or in as little as two and a half hours, thank you, with the optional BMW-mounted "Wallbox" that ups the amps flowing into your battery. A 204hp electric motor purrs under the hood, powering the front wheels with a single-speed gearbox providing the go. It will hit 62 mph in just eight seconds with a top speed of about 95mph.
While the Mini already uses electric power steering, which didn't require modification, BMW did add an electric air-conditioner compressor and an electric vacuum pump for the brake assist.
A high-tech air-cooled battery coupled with regenerative braking that resupplies a bit of power to the battery adds up to a range of about 150 miles.
Right now, going green does not come without compromise, but the popularity – at least in public interest, if not yet dollars – suggests that Mini may start rolling out the E in larger numbers soon. At least until somebody comes up with a better idea.
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