The Mini E is a two-seat battery-powered electric variant of the iconic subcompact from BMW AG.
Unlike internal combustion engines, batteries do not generate large quantities of excess heat. While this is more efficient, the lack of heat forces automakers to use an alternative source of energy to warm the interior of the vehicle and to make sure the windshield remains free of sight-reducing condensation. To deal with these problems, BorgWarner Beru Systems, in cooperation with BMW, developed high-voltage cabin heaters. They have a power output of 3,000 watts, weigh about 1.8 kilograms and can be adapted for use in other electric vehicles or hybrids.
The Mini E's lithium-ion battery is from E-One Moli Energy Corp of Taiwan. The rechargeable battery has 5,088 cells that can store up to 35 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy.
The large size of the battery requires the Mini's rear seats to be removed, leaving room for just two people. The battery can be charged using standard power sockets. However, the installation of a high-voltage wall box significantly reduces maximum charging time to about 2.5 hours in the domestic setting.
The electric Mini's drivetrain produces a peak torque of 220 Newton meters that helps it accelerate from 0-100kph (62 mph) in 8.5 seconds. The car's top speed is electronically limited to 152kph (95 mph). Under optimal conditions the Mini E has a range of 156 miles (251km) on a single charge, but in practice this distance is much less as range is affected by driving conditions.
Mini's factory near Oxford, England, produces all but the electric car's drive components and lithium-ion battery. The car's electrical drive components are installed at BMW's factory in Munich, Germany.
The Mini E premiered at the 2008 Los Angeles auto show and about 600 units are available for lease in Germany, the UK and the U.S. states of California, New York and New Jersey.