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Spy shots: all-electric Mini Cooper caught testing


BMW plans to release a limited run of 500 all-electric Minis next year in order to meet new Californian regulations that require carmakers selling cars in the state to offer zero emission vehicles. These latest spy shots show a prototype of the upcoming electric vehicle only a few weeks out from its Los Angeles Auto Show debut.

The Mini factory located in Oxford, England, supply cars without powertrains to a team located in Munich, Germany, which then adds the electric powertrain. BMW is yet to release any details about the powertrain, but previous reports speculated that it could feature lithium-ion batteries powering a single electric motor driving the front wheels.

BMW is expected to ship all 500 electric Minis to California, with 490 to be leased to selected customers and the remaining ten used as demonstration vehicles. All will be painted silver but are easily distinguished by their missing exhaust pipes and electric motor whine.

If you find the idea of an all-electric Mini appealing but don’t live in California, a company in Nevada can build you one complete with a 105hp (78kW) brushless AC motor and lithium-ion batteries. Nevada’s Hybrid Technologies has in fact been producing the electric Minis for the past year and claims that charging up the car’s batteries takes about 8-10 hours from a regular household power outlet. Top speed is only around 80mph but driving at a slower speed preserves battery-life and means owners will be able to travel up to 120 miles on a single charge.
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Comments (3)
  1. I would rather take an electric Mini than a Prius. Handles and looks better. I can't wait until the electric and hybrid cars start looking cool and can be affordable too. I like the Tesla but it isn't realistic with only 2 seats and at $100K+ is out of reach for most people. How about a Miata hybrid or electric?
     
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  2. Well, the mini with a gas engine handles well and corners on rails. Once you add a lighter motor and a heavier battery pack, all bets are off. The great thing about a Prius is that it was designed to be electric from the get-go. It's not just a converted gasoline car. That gives the designers and chassis experts a crucial advantage. Obviously I haven't driven one of these minis, and I'd point out that they exceed GM's woefully low expectations for the Volt by a factor of THREE, but the point remains that designing an electric car from scratch should involve fewer compromises and result in a better vehicle.
     
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  3. general motors Volt plug in better be in the right price.
     
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