The leasing will begin for the Mini E electric car over the course of the next few weeks.  450 people in California, New York, and New Jersey have waited and will soon have in their possession their own fully electric Mini E for one year.

The Cost of admission is high.  Pricing of $850 a month will get you into a Mini E if you were selected from the list of applicants.  But that price brings with it a statement and an opportunity that comes only once, drivers will have the opportunity to lease the first highway legal electric vehicle in the U.S. that's priced below $100,000. 

As soon to be lessees gear up for the arrival of their Mini E, hundreds of them gathered for a party at the California Science Center last week.  The event included a Mini E on display and many soon to be lessees got their first chance to see the real thing.

The Mini E is not without its downsides.  First the cost of leasing one is nearly twice that of a regular Mini.  Second, the Mini E's battery system takes up the entire back seat leaving only room for the driver and one passenger. 

The Mini E program is a one year lease only program that is more of a market planning program for BMW who owns Mini.  The program is designed to see what consumer response it to such a vehicle and to tailor future electric vehicles to meet the needs of consumer.

BMW plans to take data gathered from the program and use it to design an electric vehicle planned for 2012.

Source:  Los Angeles Times