5 October 2016

Electric Mini in showrooms by 2019

Nine years on from launching its first test electric Minis (above), BMW now says it plans to have a production Mini E on the market by 2019, writes Brian Byrne.

This follows on the news from the Paris Motor Show that Daimler is setting up its own EQ electric brand, and Volkswagen plans a fleet of dedicated EV models by 2020.

BMW will also provide a battery-only version of its X3 SUV by 2020.

In 2009, BMW handed out 40 Mini Es to members of the public in the UK for a test programme, at a subsidised monthly lease cost. It was part of a UK Department for Transport (DFT) programme involving trials of 340 ultra-low carbon vehicles from several manufacturers. Mini Es were also made available in the US for similar trials.

That Mini E’s electric drive train produced a peak torque of 220 Nm and a power output equivalent to 204hp which allowed a 100km/sprint in 8.5s. The car was a two-seater because the space normally used by rear passengers was reserved for a lithium-ion battery.

It’s likely that the BMW experience with the i3 electric car will underpin the drivetrain of of production.

The rapidly advancing battery technology which has seen up to doubling of the range of current leading electric cars from Nissan and Renault is likely to further accelerate the wider acceptance of EVs into mainstream.