"Breathtaking," says BMW. "I shall call him... Mini-E." With that, BMW jumps into the electric car derby, unveiling its electric version of the Mini Cooper. The high-profile test program/publicity stunt will involve a limited run of 500 of the electric cars, to hit the streets of southern California and New York in January.
This one's tech is a lot like the Tesla, with 5,088 lithium ion batteries stuffed inside, powering a 150kW electric motor. That results in acceleration that's enthusiastic but not jaw-dropping, going from 0 to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds. The rest of the car looks a lot like the stock Mini Cooper, except for those blaring electric car graphics that let all onlookers know how this go-kart gets its kick.
The 500 cars will be leased to glamorous customers (for $850/month) in hopes of attracting attention to the fact that BMW is, you know, doing something about electric cars. After this year-long Mini E test is done, BMW says it'll build an electric car from the ground up, but didn't say what would happen to these cute little electro-buggies.