Mini-E Charging Surprise

By · June 18, 2009

The plan to lease the Mini E—an all-electric version of the Mini Cooper—has hit a snag.

The market test of about 500 Mini E cars in New York, New Jersey and California was to include a special 220-volt charging unit so leasees could recharge their cars in 3.5 hours. But the installation of the charging box has to be approved by each local municipality. Each city “has different codes and different inspectors” according to Tom Baloga, BMW’s vice president of engineering. That could delay some East Coast installations as much as six months. Until the 220 chargers can be installed, the 35kWh lithium ion battery pack in the Mini E can still be charged using standard 110-volt household socket, but a full charge there will take 21 hours.

Three Dollar Gas

The Mini E

With a full charge, the Mini E should be good for about 150 miles. The first drivers are achieving about 100 miles of range in real-world driving. Using either 110 or 220 will cost the same, since utilities charge by the kilowatt hour. BMW said it has delivered more than 50 Mini Es so far in its one-year marketing test.

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