BMW to Make Electric Mini. Only in California. Only 500 of Them.

Electric Mini Cooper photo

Electric Mini Cooper: Glass Half-Full or Half-Empty?
Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Following VW's announcement that it would make a limited number of its 1-Liter 282 MPG car, BMW says that it will build 500 electric Mini Coopers for the Californian market. Now the optimist might say: "That's great! They're more likely to go from limited to full production than from nothing to production!". The pessimist is probably thinking: "Ok, California has a mandate for automakers to make 7,500 zero-emissions cars by 2014. That's probably why we're seeing the Honda FCX hydrogen car in that state, and now BMW will pull a GM EV1 on us."

Strong Demand for Electric Cars
Our 2 years old post about an unofficial electric Mini that could do 0-60 in 4.5 seconds is still getting traffic, so that's probably a sign that there's interest. And with small cars selling like hotcakes, hybrid supply not meeting demand, and rising fuel costs, we're sure that if BMW wanted to be bold and make more than a handful of token electric cars, it would be a big hit.

Electric Mini photo

Electric Mini: Small Scale Production
BMW has its Oxford, UK, plant building Minis without engines, transmissions or fuel tanks, and then ships them to Munich where the electric drivetrains are installed.

"BMW sources told Automotive News Europe that 490 of the Minis will be leased to selected customers in California and 10 will be used as show cars."

Dr. Norbert Reithofer, chairman of BMW AG said:

With this step, the BMW Group wants to gain initial findings as to how mobility from purely electric-powered vehicles can be designed efficiently.

That's certainly not a promise to commercialize electric Minis, though pressure from other automakers who have announced electric cars will probably force BMW to react.

Interested in electric cars? Check out: 17 Electric Cars You Must Know About
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More on BMW's Electric Mini for California
BMW builds electric Mini for California
BMW's Building an Electric Mini. You Can't Have One.
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BMW to Lease 490 All-electric Minis to Californians

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