Mini intends to prove that the electric version of the Mini Cooper can be every bit as fun as its gasoline-powered cars. And a few laps around the famed Nurburgring race track in Germany make the point admirably.
The company, which began leasing a test fleet oflast year to select individuals as a means of gathering real-world data, retro-fitted one of the cars with racing gear and sent it around the 28.3 kilometer Nurburgring - Nordschleife. Its time: 9:51.45 minutes, while hitting a top speed of 116 mph on the track. That puts it about 3 minutes slower than the fastest production car on the track, but still a respectable time.
The Mini E's power train, which relies on a 150-kilowatt electric motor and lithium ion battery pack, was unchanged, other than reprogramming the power train management system. Mini fitted it with a lighter body shell, roll cage, Recaro seat, and racing suspension for the Nurburgring.
Under normal driving, the Mini E has a range of about 100 miles, meaning it will be a long time before electric cars start doing endurance races.