So watts the Mini E run on?

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Carsguide - For a bet­ter look at the Mini E go to www.cars­guide.com.au

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.

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