BMW builds electric Mini for California
Automotive News Europe reported on Wednesday that BMW plans to export nearly 500 electric versions of its Mini car to California.
BMW sources said that 490 of the Minis are going to be leased to selected customers in California for a large-scale field test. 10 of the cars will be used as show cars.
The tests on alternative drives in a Mini body will be used over the next 12-18 months to refine the technology, according to BMW’s statement. The German carmaker told ANE that details about the drive concept and its marketing will be published towards the end of the year.
The electric Minis are being built at the Mini factory in Oxford, England, without engines, gearboxes or fuel tanks, then shipped to Munich, Germany, where they are being fitted with electric powertrains.
"This step will allow the BMW Group to gain an initial knowledge of how mobility can be achieved efficiently using purely electrically powered vehicles. Our task here is to combine the ultimate driving experience with an efficient electrified drive with practically no emissions", underlined BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer in the statement.
The electric Minis are painted silver and have yellow roofs, the sources said.
BMW engineers working on the electric Minis are part of a new division called Project i established by the automaker to develop low-emission city cars.
The electric Minis will help BMW to meet new California regulations that will require carmakers selling cars in the state to offer zero emission vehicles.
Other carmakers are developing electric cars.
Volkswagen, Daimler, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen and Renault have all announced electric-vehicle programs in recent months, joining several U.S. and Japanese automakers that are working on the technology.
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