BMW releasing electric Mini Cooper in US market; Another effort to abandon combustion engine?

October 18 2008 / by Garry Golden
Category: Energy   Year: 2009   Rating: 5 Hot

BMW will unveil its electric version of the Mini Cooper at the Los Angeles Auto Show on November 19 and 20, 2008. The company is claiming to be the world’s first manufacturer of premium automobiles to deploy a fleet of some 500 all-electric vehicles for private use in daily traffic. The MINI E will be powered by a 150 kW (204 hp) electric motor fed by a high-performance rechargeable lithium-ion battery, transferring its power to the front wheels without a sound. The MINI E is expected to accelerate to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 8.5 seconds. With its top speed electronically limited to 152 km/h (95 mph).

The battery technology will have a range of more than 240 kilometers, or 150 miles. Sales are expected to focus on private and corporate customers in pilot projects in California, New York and New Jersey.

Electric Motors vs Combustion Engine
BMW’s announcement follows along with recent industry plans to electrify the world’s auto fleet. We might interpret these announcements as a response to the ‘oil problem’ or ‘climate change’ regulations. But what if the real reason is based on a desire to abandon the design and manufacturing complexities of the combustion engine? Forward looking industry insiders hope that a new low cost manufacturing platform could emerge around the combination of wheel based electric motors, drive by wire systems, and the tight integration of batteries, hydrogen fuel cells and capacitors.

We have highlighted recent electric vehicle commitments of production vehicles (2009-2011) from automakers GM, Nissan, Tata Motors-, BYD, and Chevrolet.

We believe there is something happening in the auto industry that goes beyond oil and climate change The end game might be to change how we build and sell cars, not how we fuel them. If the real problem really is the combustion engine, and not oil, BMW’s plans might really be an effort to accelerate its shift to a new vehicle platform.

Press Release

Comment Thread (1 Response)

  1. There do seem to be many benefits to not using a combustion engine, but I think the shift must be related to oil costs in some way. If not, why not do change before? I think the combination of rising gas prices and increasing consumer awareness has created a prime market that didn’t exist 10 years ago.

    Btw, I have always kinda wanted a mini cooper, now I want one even more.

    Posted by: Mielle Sullivan   October 21, 2008
    Vote for this comment - Recommend