first launched to the market as a field test in June 2009 and available through leasing to private users in Los Angeles and the New York/New Jersey area. Another field test was launched in the U.K. in December 2009, where more than forty Mini E cars were handed to private users for a two consecutive six-month field trial periods. This trial program allowed the BMW Group to become the world’s first major car manufacturer to deploy a fleet of more than 500 all-electric vehicles for private use.
The Mini E was unveiled at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show. BMW is using its Mini brand to test the market with its electric powertrain technology but the vehicle was also developed in order to meet new California regulations that require carmakers to offer zero emission vehicles.
The Mini factory located in Oxford, England, supplies vehicle gliders (cars without powertrains) to a team located in Munich, Germany, which then adds the electric running gear
The BMW Mini E is a solid little electric ride that provides a comfortable, effortless driving experience with all of the usual small-car perks, plus an ultra cheap operating cost and a carbon footprint approaching zero. But as a $50,000 two-seater with no head-turning quotient, the pitch for this first cousin of the Mini Cooper won’t be so much to our inner rock star as our inner Al Gore.
Tooling around a busy interstate and the city streets of White Plains, it is easy to forget this is a pure electric vehicle, and something of a prototype at that: There are only about 450 Mini E’s on the road, driven by an unusually generous band of volunteer beta testers who pay $850 a month for the privilege of helping BMW work out the kinks before the car’s anticipated launch in 2012. They have no dibs on their cars and will not be allowed to buy them when the lease ends. All maintenance, and car insurance, is paid by BMW.
A fatter pipe — a 32-amp cable BMW is just making available, plugged into a 220 volt line — cuts the fill-up time for the 35 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery to a mere 4.5 hours. That’s down from the 24 hours it takes with the 12-amp cable that plugs into any 110 volt outlet. With that kind of recharge speed, Van Nostrand speculates, charging up could be offered as inducements by restaurants, shopping malls and theaters — places where people might tend to spend two or three hours anyway, so topping off isn’t lost time. Like the free Wi-Fi coffee shops use to lure customers to lattes, ubiquitous plug-in privileges could make a spontaneous EV lifestyle possible
The acceleration is via drive-by-wire technology. A software mediated delay makes the vehicle hesitate a little when the acceleration pedal is first pressed. This artificially limits the electric motor’s response, preventing burnout from a standstill. After this initial delay, response goes back to normal, making the Mini E a peppy little car.
Its regenerative braking is designed to capture as much kinetic energy as possible giving the Mini E a distinct driving characteristic. Once the driver’s right foot leaves the acceleration pedal, the Mini E starts full regenerative braking. The vehicle slows down significantly as if the brake pedal was pressed and the brake lights will turn on. On level surfaces Mini E stops completely and the brake lights will turn off. To slow down, one may just back off the acceleration pedal a little. Use of the brake pedal may be reserved for emergencies and quick stops.
Power comes from an Asynchronous electric motor that is mounted in the former engine bay and is rated at 204 PS (150 kW) and 220 N·m (160 ft·lbf) of torque. Drive is sent to the front wheels. BMW has gone with a lithium-ion battery pack with an overall capacity of a 35 kilowatt-hours (130 MJ). The batteries weigh 572 pounds (259 kg) and replace the back seat. Top speed is electronically limited to 95 mph (153 km/h). The car’s range is 156 miles (251 km) on a single charge under optimal conditions. Estimates of normal driving conditions put ranges at 109 miles (175 km) city and 96 miles (154 km) highway
Nevada’s Hybrid Technologies has started production of its electric-powered BMW Mini Cooper all-lithium model. The new electric Mini uses Hybrid Tech’s own proprietary advanced lithium management and battery-balancing system. Top speed is only around 80 mph (130 km/h) but driving at a slower speed preserves battery-life and means owners will be able to travel up to 120 miles (190 km) on a single charge. 
EVTV.ME is publishing a free “how-to” series of videos documenting their conversion of a 2009 Mini Cooper Clubman to electric drive. The project uses a more powerful AC induction motor from MES-DEA and TIMS600 controller to provide 177 ft lbs of torque. It uses 112 readily available Sky Energy 100Ah LiFePo4 cells to provide an energy storage of 40.3 kWh and a range of 125 miles. Top speed of 120 mph. This is an open source project using parts readily available to anyone from existing suppliers and intended for those inclined to do their own conversion of an existing 2009 Mini Cooper Clubman.
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