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USA Today: Mini E drivers lead the electric-car wave

MINI | October 23rd, 2010 by 1
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USA Today writes a flattering article on the MINI E and the successful pilot implemented by MINIUSA in key states. Last year, after 1,800 application, …

USA Today writes a flattering article on the MINI E and the successful pilot implemented by MINIUSA in key states.

Last year, after 1,800 application, only 450 residents of California, New Jersey and New York were awarded one of the MINI E special lease. At $850 per month, the MINI E lease was far from being affordable, but results and feedback have been more than positive for the brand.

As seen in other markets as well, the MINI E pilot has proven to be successful and key information have been collected. With the data on hand, BMW plans to further analyze the opportunities of the upcoming MegaCity Vehicle and their future in the premium electric vehicles segment.

USA Today: Mini E drivers lead the electric car wave

USA Today sat down with some of the MINI E owners and drilled down on the reasons behind their decision to get the first MINI electric production-ready vehicle.

Todd Crook, a 42-year-old television advertising producer from California is convinced. So is Tom Mologhney, a 43-year-old New Jersey restauranteur. They’re sold on the Mini E, BMW’s first electric car to be put in the hands of consumers in the U.S.

Now, with other electric cars poised to enter the market — the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf in November and December, respectively — the Mini E drivers are vocal advocates for battery-powered vehicles.

“I’m hooked,” says Crook.

When BMW set out to test the Mini E, a lithium-ion battery powered two-seater, the goal was to see if an electric car could withstand the real-life commuting needs of urban settings, says Mini E spokesman Dave Buchko.

Mini E feedback would inform BMW’s work on the four-seat Active E, which is planned for a summer 2011 release, and the Megacity planned to premier in 2013.

BMW found the Mini E 100-mile battery range was suited to daily commutes, Buchko says. “We’ve gained valuable insight, insight that we are putting into play with our other vehicles,” Buchko says.

The drivers say they found a car they don’t want to give up.

The drivers say they found a car they don’t want to give up.

“It’s the car of choice, the one everyone in the family fights over,” says film art director Jim Dow, 67, of Newport Beach, Calif. Dow has a BMW X3 and a Ford F250 in addition to the Mini E, but he says he, his wife and a son all vie to drive the electric car.
“The first six months I didn’t touch the other cars,” Dow says. “The truck sat for six months before I went to use it and then the battery was dead.”

Moloughney, who has put more than 41,000 miles on his Mini E in 15 months, keeps a Porsche Boxster in his Chester Township, N.J. garage as his other car. But he prefers to commute in the the Mini E seven days a week, at least 65 miles roundtrip, to his Montclair, N.J. restaurant.

Moloughney put solar panels on his home after getting the Mini E because he plans to have an electric car in his garage into the foreseeable future.

“This is not a golf cart,” Moloughney says of misconceptions about electric cars. “This car is really powerful.”

Dow says it cost him about $35 a month to drive the Mini E daily. With Norby’s solar powered home and car, fueling the car costs him nothing out of pocket. The cost of installing the solar panels will be recouped after four years of not buying gasoline, he says. After that, he’s only saving money.

Complete article at USA Today

  • http://imcellular.org RDuncan

    It’s the future, and I can’t wait to participate, and reduce our dependence on (and pollution from) oil. Renewable energy + electric cars have the greatest potential to end our addiction to oil, and provide a clean solution for transportation.

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