The U.S. is already scheduled to get 500 of the electric carsEnlarge Photo
Built in six months from start to finish, the Mini-E project
is a remarkable example of just what can be done when bright minds are given the leeway and resources to create a modern EV from an existing platform. But at its root, the Mini-E still only a conversion of a combustion-engine vehicle, not a purpose-built electric car, and that's part of the ultimate goal of Project i
The Los Angeles Auto Show offered an opportunity for many members of the press to get behind the wheel of the Mini-E, proving the car is a sprightly and fun-to-drive car, true to its Mini platform. Now that its first goal is met, however, Project i is already looking forward to the construction of a new urban car
that will feature a choice of electric or combustion engine powertrains
, but which will be built from the ground up to incorporate both, reports Auto Motor & Sport
By 2015, BMW hopes to have a fully-functional 'megacity' car on sale to the public, and unlike the current Mini-E, it will have to be more than a two-seater with severely limited cargo space.
The new platform will also have to be eminently flexible in order to serve the needs of widely varying markets, such as Japan and the United States. Size, power and efficiency considerations in one market could be completely irrelevant or out of place in another, so the ability to scale up or down in many design parameters will make the car more useful globally, though also likely more expensive and difficult to develop.
2010 Mini E electric vehicle