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by Matt Brogan

The BMW Group will be the world’s first manufacturer of premium vehicles to deploy a fleet of some 500 all-electric vehicles for private use in daily traffic to act as a test bed for the new technology.

 

Mini E will be powered by a 150 kW electric motor fed by a high-performance rechargeable lithium-ion battery, transferring its power to the front wheels via a single-stage helical gearbox which is also both noise and emission free.

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The new battery technology developed for Mini E, which was specially engineered for automotive use, has a theoretical range of more than 240 kilometers. Mini E will initially be made available to select private and corporate customers as part of a pilot project in the US states of California, New York and New Jersey with the possibility of the program being extended to European buyers.

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Peak torque of 220Nm is available from word go and delivers seamless acceleration to 100 km/h in 8.5 seconds (top speed is electronically limited to 152 km/h to save battery life). The suspension system has also been modified to match the weight distribution characteristics offered by a car laden with batteries. Surprisingly though, Mini E is said to lose none of the agility and outstanding handling made famous by the brand.

By introducing the Mini E, the BMW Group has drawn strongly on its unique technological expertise in the field of drive systems to develop a vehicle concept enabling zero emissions without renouncing the joy of driving. Putting the cars on the road under real daily traffic conditions will also make it possible to gain widely applicable hands-on experience.

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Evaluating these findings will generate valuable know-how, which will eventually be factored into the engineering of mass-produced vehicles. The BMW Group aims to start series production of all-electric vehicles over the medium term as part of its Number ONE strategy. Mini E will give its world premiere at the Los Angeles Auto Show on November 19 and 20, 2008.




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