Independent, Expert EV Reviews & Advice Since 2006

Invitation to test an electric MINI

BMW is
inviting you to lease a 204hp, emission-free electric MINI E for just £330 per
month – however you have to live in the South East to qualify.

drivers wanting to be part of the MINI E UK research project can now apply
online to lease one of twenty prototype cars destined for British roads. The
online application form will be hosted at
from 01-30 September
2009. Further details of the project are also available on this website.

will be available to lease for six months from December this year. A second
round of applications will then be invited in 2010, allowing a further twenty
drivers to lease an all-electric MINI for a six month period.

for current development and manufacturing costs, the monthly lease fee for a
MINI E would normally be priced at £550 per month.

earlier this year a BMW Group-led consortium was awarded part of a £25m fund by
the Technology Strategy Board, the Government-backed organisation that promotes
technology innovation across the UK. This funding has meant that the monthly
lease fee can be reduced to £330 per month, which includes VAT, insurance and
maintenance (terms and conditions apply).

driver also pays for the electricity used. Fully re-charging the battery using
off-peak electricity at current prices will cost around £1.50. Using
higher-rate daytime electricity, the cost will still be less than £4.00.

applicants to the research trial will have to meet certain criteria to be
eligible to take part. Firstly, customers must reside in South East England,
within a triangular geographical area joining Andover, Oxford and West London.
A full list of eligible postcodes and a map of the relevant area is available
on the website.

MINI E test
drivers must also have a private garage, car port or parking space at their
home. Not only for safety and security reasons, but primarily to ensure that a
high power charging unit in the form of a wall box measuring approximately 0.6m
x 0.6m can be installed by Southern Electric. This wall box will be supplied
with every MINI E and also includes a 6.5m charging cable. The 240V/32 amp
supply provided by the wall box can fully charge the MINI E’s lithium-ion
battery pack from empty in just 4.5 hours. An adaptor for use with an ordinary
13 amp socket will also be supplied, but the lower capacity for charge means it
will take around 10 hours to provide a full charge. Therefore it is only
appropriate for occasional use.

servicing and technical assistance will be provided by dedicated BMW Group UK
‘flying doctors’. These technicians will be supported by selected MINI dealers
within the MINI E research area.

Following the
launch of MINI E research projects in North America and Germany, the UK trial
is a collaborative effort between a BMW Group UK-led consortium. Additional
funding is provided by the Technology Strategy Board as part of a UK-wide
programme involving trials of 340 ultra-low carbon vehicles from several

Electric will be responsible for the electricity infrastructure in the research
area and is committed to supplying ‘green energy’ to all drivers of the MINI E.
Southern Electric (part of Scottish and Southern Energy Group) guarantees that
for every unit of electricity used by a MINI E in the UK research project, it
will put a unit of 100 per cent cleaner, greener hydro electricity back into
the national grid.

The region in
which Southern Electric owns the supply network is an important reason for
working with a geographical research sample in South East England.

Brookes University’s Sustainable Vehicle Engineering Centre will manage the
collation of qualitative and quantitative research throughout the UK project.
This will include analysis of driver experiences with the MINI E, as well as
reviewing the technical information provided by the data-logging units fitted
to every MINI E.

consortium is strengthened by public sector organisations from the South East
England Development Agency (SEEDA), Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County
Council. These organisations are working to develop high economic growth in
their areas through innovation and developing high value job opportunities
through projects such as this.

A further 20
MINI E vehicles will be distributed among the MINI E consortium members for
testing in a fleet environment. This will necessitate the establishment of a
technical infrastructure in each organisation’s local area and aid a common
objective to be at the forefront of sustainable transport initiatives.