So watts the Mini E run on?
ABATTERY pack will put the essential spark into the ultimate green Mini. The 400kg lithium-ion powerplant is the heart of the Mini E, which hits the road in the US next year.
Battery-powered plug-in cars are taking the ecological high ground from the hybrids led by the Toyota Prius. Five hundred cars will carry the Mini E badge and they’ll have a promised a 240km range, a 150km/h top speed and a respectable 0-100km/h sprint of 8.5 seconds.
Most of the Mini E movers will be going to government departments and other big fleets.
Some will make it into private garages complete with a special ‘‘wall box’’ for charging in about 2½ hours from dead flat.
But there is bad news, too. First, the Mini is cut down to a two-seater because the battery pack takes up all the rear-seat space. And the Mini E will not be coming to Australia.
‘‘We would love to get one to Australia to show people what we are doing. That could be towards the end of next year,’’ Mini Australia spokesman Toni Andreevski says.
‘‘But the car will only be leased in the US in the first instance. There’ll be discussion about some European tests after that.’’
The plan is to lease each Mini E on a one-year try-out, though this could be extended.
All will come back to BMW Group for stripping and assessment when they have finished on the road. None will be sold.
The mechanical package of the Mini E puts a 150kW electric motor into the engine bay, turning the front wheels through a single-stage helical gearbox. The lithium-ion battery pack consists of 5088 cells grouped in 48 modules, and it has a maximum capacity of 35kW hours.
BMW Group says the wallbox supplied to owners’ homes will cut recharge times by boosting the amperage, because charge times vary depending on the voltage and amperage of the supply. The car has a plug-in point in the grille and there is no exhaust pipe — and no noise.
The E will have the same sporty suspension as the regular cars, despite the 400kg gain. It has specially calibrated electronic stabil- ity control and regenerative braking that can boost its range 20 per cent.
The car will be leased in California, New York and New Jersey from the start of next year.