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Thursday, October 15, 2009

BMW Mini E heading for the UK

BMW's electric MINI is about to hit Britain’s streets.

And with forty volunteers currently being selected to trial the battery-powered motor – including 20 lucky members of the public chosen from 515 applications - the German marque is busy making last minute preparations for the MINI E’s arrival.

If you didn’t make the shortlist, don’t hold your breath for a stint behind the wheel of this super thrifty round-around. The firm’s confirmed it won’t ever make it into production.

Instead, the car is being used to trail technology being developed under the BMW group’s alternative fuel Project i, which is expected to result in a four seat electric family car by 2015.

In the meantime, retailer Marks and Spencer has agreed to install charging points at more than one dozen stores across the southeast, where the MINI E test cars will be based.

The new owners will also have boxes installed in their homes to boost their electricity charge from 13 to 32 amps – enough to give drivers a full tank in just four and a half hours. MINI says that will give them a range up to 120 miles.

The trial, which will run from Oxford, down to London’s West End and west to Andover, will begin before Christmas, according to the firm, and last six months.

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