First Electric MINI Delivered

Elecrtric MINI

It looks like BMW was serious about not only building an electric version of its MINI (all caps, and boy is that lame), but they’re also serious about actually selling the things. Not that there’s anything wrong with these ideas at all, just ask Peter Trepp of Pacific Palisades California, because he’s the first guy in the country to get one.

Other MINI customers in Los Angeles, New York and New Jersey will take delivery of MINI Es by the end of June, but Peter Trepp is the lucky #1 when it comes to this car.

So what sort of person do you think would be the kind of guy that would jump through all the various hoops to actually get a MINI E (and you know that getting one of these quiet little runabouts wasn’t like going to the store to pick up a loaf of bread)?

Well, the sort of guy that volunteers information like his favorite pioneer is Leonardo da Vinci. In other words, a geek very close to you & I. I have a good friend, an electrical engineer with multiple degrees, who was one of the first people to buy a Toyota Prius, and he bought it simply because he was curious about how the damn thing worked. How much you want to bet that about 10 – 15 percent of the people that get MINI Es are like my engineer friend?

It’s not like BMW just handed the thing over to him like it was a new 3-series. The MINI E is out there as “part of a year-long field study.” Which means that if, and I have to stress this is a big, huge if, if BMW decides things ain’t going so grand, they might have to re-think the whole electric MINI thing. But what are the chances of that happening? These guys just aren’t German engineers, they’re Bavarian engineers, so I’d bet things are pretty well screwed together.

Jim McDowell, Vice President of MINI USA had this to say: \”Congratulations to Peter Trepp on being the first person in the United States to take delivery of the MINI E, I hope he enjoys this year-long adventure on which he is about to embark. I want to thank him and the hundreds of other pioneering spirits participating in this program, as the knowledge gained from their involvement will play a vital role in helping to shape the development of new ideas, technologies and future forms of transportation.\”

BMW’s MINI E has a range of around 100 miles on a single charge, although that is heavily dependent on a persons driving style and conditions. The little guy is powered by a 150 kilowatt electric motor with the equivalent of 201 hp, which would be a real hoot in a car the size of a MINI, but the added weight of the batteries takes away some of that fun. Speaking of, those batts are a high-performance rechargeable lithium-ion. The vehicle can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 8.5 seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of 95 mph (boooo!). MINI will install a special wall box into each MINI E customer\’s garage that can fully recharge a completely drained battery in just two-and-a-half hours.

OK Mr. Trepp, you’re number one on the runway … have a good flight, and report back and let us know how she flies.

Here’s BMW’s press release:

PETER TREPP OF PACIFIC PALISADES BECOMES FIRST PERSON IN THE UNITED STATES TO TAKE DELIVERY OF THE FULLY ELECTRIC, ZERO EMISSIONS MINI E

* 28.05.2009
* Press Release

Customers in Los Angeles, New York and New Jersey to Take Delivery of MINI Es by the End of June

Woodcliff Lake, NJ – May 28, 2009-His favorite pioneer is Leonardo da Vinci, but now Pacific Palisades\’ own Peter Trepp can consider himself a bona fide pioneer, as he has become the first of several hundred customers in the United States to take delivery of the MINI E-MINI\’s fully electric, zero emissions vehicle-as part of a year-long field study. Deliveries of the MINI E to other customers will be completed by the end of June.

\”Congratulations to Peter Trepp on being the first person in the United States to take delivery of the MINI E, I hope he enjoys this year-long adventure on which he is about to embark,\” said Jim McDowell, Vice President of MINI USA. \”I want to thank him and the hundreds of other pioneering spirits participating in this program, as the knowledge gained from their involvement will play a vital role in helping to shape the development of new ideas, technologies and future forms of transportation.\”

Trepp, a venture capitalist whose firm specializes in funding early-stage clean technology companies, is the first of several hundred eager participants selected by MINI to begin the field study, which will see 450 MINI Es deployed in the Los Angeles, New York and New Jersey metropolitan areas, with additional vehicles being tested in Berlin and Munich, Germany; and London, England.

The 450 U.S. vehicles will be leased to customers like Trepp, who applied online at MINIUSA.com to be part of the one-year field study, and a portion will also be used as fleet vehicles. The fleet vehicles will be dedicated to full-time extensive and intense daily use in select fleets, such as the NYC Street Condition Observation Unit (SCOUT) and those that are being provided to the city of Los Angeles. As part of their participation in the field study, Trepp and the others selected will provide ongoing real world use feedback to MINI on their experiences with the zero-emission electric cars. More than twice the number of people applied as there are cars available in the U.S.

The MINI E can travel around 100 miles on a single charge depending on driving style and conditions, while providing the agility and handling of a MINI Cooper. It is powered by a 150 kilowatt electric motor with the equivalent of 201 hp. The energy supply comes from a high-performance rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The vehicle, which debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2008, can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 8.5 seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of 95 mph. MINI will install a special wall box into each MINI E customer\’s garage that can fully recharge a completely drained battery in just two-and-a-half hours.

The MINI E is the first product of BMW\’s Project i, a program designed to research and develop transportation strategies and new types of vehicles specifically to meet the needs of the world\’s growing mega-cities.

Trepp proved to be an ideal candidate to participate in the field study and has the pioneering spirit in his blood. His great grandfather, William Channel, invented many critical electrical and telephone components that are used today, including the power insulator, which can be found in the Smithsonian. Trepp is also chronicling his MINI E experiences online with his blog \”Plugged-In With Peter\’s MINI E,\” which can be viewed at http://www.petersminie.blogspot.com

MINI in the US
MINI is an independent brand of the BMW Group. In the United States, MINI USA operates as a business unit of BMW of North America, LLC which has been present in the United States since 1975. Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003. The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and the Rolls-Royce brand of Motor Cars; DesignworksUSA, a strategic design consultancy in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country. BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group\’s global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all X5 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 Sports Activity Coupes. The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 338 BMW passenger car centers, 335 BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 142 BMW motorcycle retailers, 83 MINI passenger car dealers, and 30 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers. BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group\’s sales headquarters for North America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.

Information about BMW Group products is available to consumers via the Internet at:
www.bmwgroupna.com
www.miniusanews.com

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About The Author

Tony Borroz grew up in a sportscar oriented family, but sadly, it was British cars. His knuckles still show the marks of slipped Whitworth sockets, strains to reach upper rear shock bushings on Triumphs, and slight burn marks from dealing with Lucas Electric "systems." He has written for a variety of car magazines and websites, Automoblog chief among them. Tony has worked on popular driving games as a content expert, in addition to working for aerospace companies, software giants, and as a movie stuntman. He currently lives in a secure, undisclosed location in the American southwestern desert.

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