What it's Like to Lease and Drive the MINI E Electric Car

Follow Lyle

A few days ago I took delivery of MINI E #412 in New York. I will have the car for a 1-year close ended lease.

As an electric car enthusiast and advocate, actually getting my own EV for full time use to charge and recharge is a dream come true. Though not traditionally a big MINI buff the fact that the car runs only on electricity is what its all about for me.

The car is more of an experimental prototype or mule than a pure production car. It is a standard MINI Cooper that has been modified. The car uses an AC propulsion powertrain with a 150 kw (205hp) motor. A 500 pound 35 kw (28 kw useable) lithium-ion battery pack replaces the back seat. A front quarter panel charge port accepts 120V|12 amp or 240 v (32 amp or 50 amp) inputs which will fully recharge the car from 4 hours at 240v|50a to 24 hours 120v|12a.

Range is listed at 100 miles though my screen indicates 94 miles at 100% charge.

The car is extremely fast and exciting to drive. Official 0 to 60 time is 8.5 seconds but it seems much faster due to the instantaneous torque. There does appear to be a slight delay in torque when going from a complete stop. According to AC Propulsion, BMW engineered that in; it does limit some of the thrill. However when moving at highway speed, a stomp on the accelerator will spring the car forward in a striking manner.

The regenerative brakes are very intense. Simply lifting one foot from the accelerator rapidly grinds the car to a stop, even if going downhill. This is a little unusual and although takes some getting used to is actually useful, a lot of time braking isn't needed.

The MINI styling is eclectic and original, and the unique interior controls take a little getting used to. There is essentially no storage room as the battery also takes up most of the trunk.

The little 3600 pound car handles like a go cart, taking turns is fun but there is some stability loss when blasting the electric motor, and the front wheels are easy to chirp.

Though people can always find something to complain about when it comes to cars, or really anything, I have nothing more to say than "my time has finally come," or "I have made it to the promised land."

The cars will be dismantled by BMW at the end of the year to learn about the effect of public roads and public hands on electric cars. They will use this learning to engineer their next planned MegaCity EVs.

In the end this little MINI E prototype is the tip of the spear, and is the harbinger of some very good things to come on the road ahead.

I will post updates of my year-long e-voyage right here on AllCarsElectric.com, so welcome aboard and please follow along.

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