MUNICH -- BMW plans to export nearly 500 electric versions of its Mini car to California, company sources said.
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 Dr. Norbert Reithofer, Chairman
of the Board of Management of BMW AG.
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.
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.
Mini spokesman Cypselus von Frankenberg did not confirm that BMW is building electric Minis.
"BMW will announce whether it will build electric vehicles or not later this year," he told ANE.
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.
You may e-mail Bettina Mayer at [email protected]