Unlike other manufacturers who have designed and built dedicated electric vehicles, BMW have taken a tried and tested icon of the motoring world – the MINI and have made an electric version. It’s quite possible you could have seen one of these little dark grey Mini’s out and about if you live in the south east of the country and you may be wondering when they will be available to buy.
Well, right now the MINI E is purely an experiment. BMW were one of the first to use the lithium-ion technology in electric vehicles but they feel there are still some teething problems before they bring the car to the market. It seems to be less about the car and more to do with the infrastructure and the fact that they feel running a pure electric car is not yet sufficiently easy (which outside London is really the case but it’s changing.
The MINI E arrived in the UK in the winter of 2009, with several deployed for day-to-day use in a test area in the south east of England. BMW are working with SEEDA and Oxford Brookes University to look at the driving and infrastructure issues which they feel remain.