Plugging their Mini E electrics into an ordinary 110-volt wall socket for 21 hours isn't what lessees paying $850 a month signed up for.
Mini is leasing 450 electric cars to individuals in New York, New Jersey and California. Parent company BMW wants to determine whether a market exists for an electric city car.
The lessees were promised a special 220-volt box that would give their cars a full charge in three to 31/2 hours. But installation of those boxes has been tied up in a tangle of red tape, especially on the East Coast.
"All the different municipalities have different requirement codes and different inspectors," says Tom Baloga, vice president of engineering for BMW of North America.
On the West Coast, most approvals have been granted. But Mini said it will take up to six weeks for that to happen in New York and New Jersey, where 200 of the Mini Es will end up.
Mini has delivered 51 cars so far.
Waiting 21 hours for a full charge, which powers the Mini E for 150 miles, may be a hassle but won't cost any more than the three-hour charge, because utilities charge by the kilowatt. Baloga says the cost to charge a Mini is half of what gasoline costs, based on a price of $2.50 per gallon.
(Source: Automotive News)