BMW UK MINI EV Test: They Really Like It

The results of a real-world field test of regular people in the UK in MINI E electric vehicles (EVs) show that four out of five people found that 80% of their daily trips could be done exclusively in the MINI E, and that if the car had rear seats and a trunk, that would go up to 90%. The research, supported by a government-supported consortium* headed by the BMW Group, involved 62 members of the public and 76 pool users.

The results of a real-world field test of regular people in the UK in MINI E electric vehicles (EVs) show that four out of five people found that 80% of their daily trips could be done exclusively in the MINI E, and that if the car had rear seats and a trunk, that would go up to 90%.

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The research, supported by a government-supported consortium* headed by the BMW Group, involved 62 members of the public and 76 pool users. The 40 battery-powered hatchbacks were driven over two six-month periods. The total mileage over the 12 months of driving was 258,105 miles.

The MINI E is based on the MINI hatch. It features a 204-hp electric motor and uses a 35-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. It has a top speed of 95 mph, and BMW describes it as having a “realistic range” of 112 miles.

On average, the daily distance driven was 29.7 miles. Drivers didn’t charge their MINI Es every night; rather, the average frequency of recharging was 2.9 times per week, and 82% used their home wall-mounted charging boxes 90% of the time. Nine out of 10 participants said that the charging regimen suited their daily driving routines. Eighty-one percent agreed with the statement: “I prefer to plug in the car than to go to a fuel station.”

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Here’s encouraging news for BMW (which will be launching its first purpose-built EV, the i3 in 2013) as well as other OEMs offering EVs: 96% said they would consider buying an EV and 51% said they’d pay a third more for an EV. That’s right: pay more for an EV. While that third may not be a sufficient delta for a return on the cost of building an EV compared to a conventionally powered car, at least there is recognition that there is something worth paying more for.

*The project was supported by the Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator Programme, funded by the Technology Strategy Board and Department for Transport. UK Consortium members supporting the MINI E trials are Scottish and Southern Energy, Oxford Brookes University, SEEDA, and BMW Group.