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The debate on whether or not Electric Vehicles (EV) are viable in South Africa rages on.

Mini adds electric E

2008-10-20 08:06

Mini is preparing to take the wraps off its most efficient model yet, the Mini E, that will initially be leased to greenies in the US.

Mini's all-electric E is powered by a 150 kW electric motor linked to a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

This power is transferred to the front wheels via a single-stage helical gearbox "nearly without a sound", BMW says.

The electric drivetrain produces a peak torque figure of 220 Nm.

The manufacturer claims this should allow Mini E to accelerate to 100 km/h from standstill in 8.5 seconds before reaching a top speed electronically limited to 152 km/h.

While thrust is immediately available, deceleration calls in BMW's brake regeneration technology. Just lifting off the accelerator sees the electric motor double as a generator and ensures kinetic energy that would otherwise be lost in braking is relayed to the battery instead.

Up to 75% of deceleration can be done without braking, the manufacturer says. 

Other energy-saving techniques include electric power steering that responds to driving conditions and an electrical compressor for the air conditioning system that only operates when necessary.

However, BMW insists this car will boast Mini's trademark agility, allowing for zero emission travel without compromising driving fun.

The car will initially be available as a two-seater, with the battery pack taking the space usually reserved for back seat passengers.

As part of a pilot project in three US states, a fleet of about 500 all-electric Mini Es will initially be made available to selected private and corporate customers for use in daily traffic. The MINI E’s lithium-ion battery can be charged using a wallbox provided to MINI customers.

Findings from this project will be considered when series production is started "over the medium term".

Mini E will debut at the Los Angeles Motor Show on November 19 and 20.

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