Earlier this month the Editor-in-Chief, Lyle Dennis, of took delivery of MINI E #412 as part of MINI’s experimental prototype program designed to test their MINI E electric vehicle in real world surroundings. Understandably, Dennis is very excited about the opportunity and gives his perspective on the MINI E and its ownership in a recent article. There are a couple things about his experience that jump out, so let’s explore. 

Before we get there though, you might remember that reported on the MINI E lease program back in early March. Just to recap, the MINI E lease program will lease the cars to about 250 people in the Los Angeles area and another 200 or so in the New York Metropolitan area. Applicants that are accepted are required to have locking garages and will have to pay a lease fee of $850 a month during the one year lease period. So Dennis is very lucky indeed; with car #412 it looks like he just got in under the wire.

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Dennis has a lot of good things to say about the MINI E, but he doesn’t gloss over the shortcomings either. Since I like to end on a positive note, I will review the drawbacks to the MINI E first. The first negative to me, is that the MINI E only has a 100 mile range (Dennis’ trip computer tells him 94 miles at 100% charge), especially since I drive about 80 miles round trip to and from work right now and there is no place to recharge in my parking lot. A quirk Dennis mentions is the MINI E’s interior controls; he says that they take some getting used to, but admits that the styling is “eclectic and original.” Finally, I should mention that due to the size of the battery, this small car will only seat two without any real storage room in the passenger compartment nor much trunk space.

The beauty of this car isn’t the trunk space or really even the interior design. No, the beauty lies within the electric technology and performance that the car demonstrates. Now Dennis speaks very highly of the MINI E driving experience, as does the owner of car #111 (Peter Trepp), who has already been interviewed by the local California news. There are others that aren’t as big a fan, but these two MINI E owners applaud the instant torque, spirited 0-60 time (about 8.5 seconds) and the fun in the curves. Incidentally, the regenerative braking system, aggressive as it is, seems to make driving on curvy roads just that much more fun and you are recapturing energy that would otherwise be lost in the standard sports car.

Bottom line—The MINI E may not be for everyone, but with about 450 cars expected to be delivered and more than 1800 applicants, MINI and BMW must be doing something right. Check out Peter Trepp on the local California news below (Click here if you can't view the embedded video):

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Check back for more updates on Dennis and Peter’s experiences over the next year. Also, be sure to check out the other blogsreviews and the photo gallery right here at