Thursday, March 26, 2009


After a tricky but fun application process, I finally received one of my favorite emails in recent memory. "Congratulations, you have been selected to participate in the Mini E Field Trial."

It all started last November when I attended the LA Auto Show. I noticed that Mini had introduced the Mini E, an all electric vehicle in prototype form (for now). A select group of people were going to be allowed to drive these cars for one year but there wasn't a lot more information than that. I wasn't a movie star. I have no cache whatsoever (as you all know). Nevertheless, I decided to apply for the program with the expectation of being turned down. There were thousands of applicants for only 500 cars and several of those cars had been allocated to cities for testing. After a long wait, I was finally notified that I was selected. What great news!

In case you haven't heard much about the Mini E program, here is what I know so far:

  • One year lease with Mini (BMW) for $850 per month (yes, they want it back after a year, but there is a rumor that they might extend the lease beyond one year)

  • The Mini E may qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit, but I have not confirmed this yet

  • Comp/collision insurance is paid for by Mini (BMW), I have to pay for liability coverage which will be about $400 per year

  • Mini (BMW) will install the electric charging station in my garage at their cost (however, I have to pay a bit extra because my main electric panel is so far from my garage - about $1,000)

  • The electric box comes from Clean Fuel Connection (CFC), the same folks who installed the charging boxes for General Motor's EV1 and Toyota's RAV4

  • My Mini E will be coming from Bob Smith Mini in Calabasas, but other dealerships will be distributing the cars as well


Since I do not have possession of the car yet, I cannot attest to the performance figures. However, I believe they are accurate.

Acceleration 0-60: 8.5 seconds

Top Speed: 95 miles per hour

Range: 100-120 miles in normal driving (150 miles in ideal situations)

Charge Time: 2.5 to 3 hours total

Batteries: 5,088 Lithium Ion batteries

Seats: 2 seats: 1 driver, 1 passenger. The rear seats are occupied with the battery pack. There is a smallish storage area behind the batteries.

Mini E Pioneers in Los Angeles have been invited to attend an orientation and "green" discussion on May 5 (at a secret location). At that meeting, we'll have a chance to sit in one of the 500 Mini E's and meet the other Pioneers.

I am expecting to take possession of the car sometime in May. However, no delivery date has been communicated as of yet so stay tuned for more information.

Keep plugged in for more on the Mini E.