Mini-E Charging Surprise

The plan to lease the Mini E—an all-electric version of the Mini Cooper—has hit a snag.

The market test of about 500 Mini E cars in New York, New Jersey and California was to include a special 220-volt charging unit so leasees could recharge their cars in 3.5 hours. But the installation of the charging box has to be approved by each local municipality. Each city “has different codes and different inspectors” according to Tom Baloga, BMW’s vice president of engineering. That could delay some East Coast installations as much as six months. Until the 220 chargers can be installed, the 35kWh lithium ion battery pack in the Mini E can still be charged using standard 110-volt household socket, but a full charge there will take 21 hours.

With a full charge, the Mini E should be good for about 150 miles. The first drivers are achieving about 100 miles of range in real-world driving. Using either 110 or 220 will cost the same, since utilities charge by the kilowatt hour. BMW said it has delivered more than 50 Mini Es so far in its one-year marketing test.

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  • Skeptic

    Duh, electrical installations have to be inspected. “No one could have predicted that!” Did I say “duh” already?

    OTOH, if it’s a standard plug, just pull the plug on your dryer and use that. And 3.5 hours is pretty quick.

  • Less NOx

    So the real world range is about 100 miles per charge. About the same as the much larger RAV 4 EV built 12 years ago. With Nickle cadmium batteries not Lithium ion. For less money.

    I’m so impressed.

  • Octavius

    Nice looking car, should be popular, if looks are what matter. Too bad about the “snag”.

    Just one piece missing from the Mfr., though — how many $$ do they want for one of these? That will tell a lot about whether it *really* will catch on.

  • KMCoates

    Octavius —
    Just like the EV1, no Mini Es are for sale. $850/month for an all-inclusive 1 year lease. Then they go back to BMW in Germany to be torn down and analyzed.

  • qqRockyBeans

    At least they’re leasing them in New Jersey!!!!!!!!!That’s more than you could say for GM< Honda, and Toyota with THEIR EV's!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and no, I am not leasing one btw

  • Octavius

    Many thanks to the author for the pointing out that this is a leasing arrangement, so the financials work out a little differently than an outright purchase. Excellent point.

    That said, $850 is what I paid for the last car I bought, just a few months ago, which gets about 34 mpg on the highway, and which I hope will last at least a few years — which I hope explains why I, and a lot of other people in my financial situation, won’t be an early adopter for this particular leading edge technology.

    Even though there are certainly people who can afford $10K a year for a car like this, in a world where 15 – 20% of the population are going hungry, is that really a morally responsible choice to make?

  • Paris sportifs

    Nice looking car