Mini: Small, Cute, and Electric
In a further sign that full-electric drive vehicles are headed for the mainstream, BMW BMW Group will showcase a lithium-ion battery powered version of the MINI at next month's Los Angeles Auto Show Detroit-Auto-Show-2008 ahead of a pilot project that will see 500 of the cars evaluated on US roads in 2009. Based on the current MINI Hatch, the MINI E will initially appear in two-seater form with rear seats dropped to make way for the battery pack. Rather than an in-hub motor arrangement, an electric motor mounted under the bonnet drives the front wheels through a single-stage helical gearbox derived from the Cooper S, and being all-electric, the full power is delivered from a standing start delivering quite adequate acceleration of 0-62 mph in 8.5 seconds with a top speed electronically-limited to 95 mph.
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