MINI will use the Los Angeles Auto Show to debut the new MINI E. They will begin offering one-year leases of 500 MINI E's to select private and corporate customers.
Under the hood is a 150 kW (204 hp) electric motor which receives power from a high-performance rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Thanks to the high-tech battery pack the MINI E can travel up to 156 miles per charge. 0-62 mph takes 8.5 seconds and the MINI's top speed is limited to 95 mph.
The MINI E will initially only be offered as a two-seater as the batteries take up the space where the rear passenger seats are normally located. Using the same basic battery technology as cell phones and laptop batteries, the MINI E will be able to be charged from a special wallbox unit that will be installed in owner's garages. Charge times will vary, but the company estimates that the wallbox will be able to fully recharge the batteries in two-and-a-half hours.
Another unique feature of the MINI E is that the electric motor can act like a generator when the driver lifts off the accelerator. This acts as a brake and the resulting kinetic energy is used to recharge the battery. The company says that when driven in city traffic this feature reduces the need for traditional braking by 75% and results in a 20% increase in the vehicle's range.
In order to keep MINI's trademark agility and handling, the MINI E features a specifically tuned suspension in order to evenly distribute the added weight from the battery pack. All MINI E's will come equipped with a retuned version of Dynamic Stability Control which has been setup to handle the car's 3,230 lbs weight.
The exterior is all MINI, but this special model will only be offered with Dark Silver body paint and a Pure Silver roof. Special yellow E badges are applied to the exterior and are echoed by yellow touches on the roof edges, mirror housings, and inside the interior. The standard MINI gauge cluster is replaced by a new version which features displays for the battery level, power consumption, and power recuperation.
Be sure to check out the second page of the press release for full specifications on the new MINI E.