City of New York To Use MINI E Electric Cars, Bloomberg Announces

January 16, 2009

In his State-of-the-City speech yesterday, New York Major Michael R. Bloomberg announced that BMW will be loaning the city 10 MINI E electric vehicles for its SCOUT program. SCOUT, or Street Condition Observation Unit, scours the city for dangers like potholes, roadway damage, and aesthetic issues like graffiti (they'd need a lot more than 10 vehicles to keep up with NYC graffiti, no?).

These 10 MINIs are part of an armada of 500 MINI Es being used as a one-year pilot study; the program aims to examine the viability of the vehicles for the consumer market. Vehicle delivery will begin in April.

Mini E is a part of BMW's Project i, an R&D exercise designed to help the company anticipate and meet transportation needs in the world's largest growing cities like New York. Project i dovetails nicely with Bloomberg's PlaNYC initiative, which focuses on sustainability in multiple sectors including city transportation.

BMW/MINI media photos

BMW/MINI media photos

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BMW's MINI E is able to cover over 150 miles on a single charge, and is said to retain the Cooper's sprightly handling and fun to drive personality. Its 150 kilowatt motor provides roughly 201 hp, not to mention the impressive reality of peak torque at zero RPM which should make for tire-smoking stoplight getaways. Notably, the MINI E stores its charge in lithium-ion batteries, the latest and greatest in battery technology that is keeping plenty of other companies up late polishing and perfecting their applications of the same technology. Charge time: 2.5 hours with the special wall box provided by MINI with customer leases.

The 500 Mini Es are set to be deployed in New York, New Jersey, and L.A. metro areas. Additional vehicles will be tested in Berlin and London. 450 will be leased to customers who applied at to be a part of the field study. The remaining 50 will go to programs like NYC's SCOUT, where they will accrue more than 100 miles per day while trolling the streets for debris and damage.

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