The first half of the twelve month trial of the MINI E are in from the UK, and the results show what the trial’s daily commuter/testers actually experienced.
There are other actual driver tests taking place in the U.S. and Germany, but the results from the UK are in now, and they are eye-opening.
First, let's talk about pricing. 44% of the drivers involved in the trial said they would be prepared to pay up to a third more for an electric MINI than for a conventional one. BMW’s analysis of this is that £16,000 seems to be the maximum acceptable price. For comparison, the Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Peugeot iOn, which will all be on the market in 2011, cost over £20,000 to buy, even with a £5000 UK Government grant. So far, so good.
But there’s more to this study than meets the pavement, and it sounds like BMW really got its money’s worth. This, despite the fact that BMW isn’t even going to offer a MINI E for sale, opting instead to go with the forthcoming Megacity Vehicle, or MCV, which is due to go on sale in 2013.
Here, as posted by Pure Green Cars, are the key findings from the first six months of the UK field trial:
- 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.
- Before the trials began, users expected limitations in terms of range and charging times. In practice these have only proved to be barriers in a very few specific cases.
- Users felt reassured that both the MINI E itself and the charging process are completely safe.
- There was a very strong feeling from both private and fleet users that renewable energy should play an important role in future electricity generation. There was also a strong feeling that the battery of an electric vehicle (EV) should be charged using renewables to optimize the ecological advantages of an EV.
- The BMW Group is trusted to provide a technically mature solution to the challenges presented by EVs.
- Users reported a need for more interior space for journeys requiring more passengers and more storage capacity.
- Users felt strongly that public charging facilities for EVs were desirable and even essential. However, at the same time, the majority claimed that they coped without public charging facilities.
In summary, users liked MINI E’s lack of noise, the convenience of home charging, low off-peak power charges, not having to go to a gas station and sit in line, driving a zero emissions vehicle, MINI E’s acceleration characteristics and regenerative braking. Drawbacks include current mileage range for certain journeys, limited carrying capacity and sub-optimal performance during the extremely cold weather conditions in December 2009 and January 2010.
See what I mean? This study is pretty complete and will prove very valuable not only to BMW but to other manufacturers – and perhaps governments – in the press to move forward toward a greener automotive future.
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