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Mini electric car tackles Nurburgring

Mini proves its electric car can handle high-performance driving.

Mini E
The Mini E, modified with a roll cage and racing suspension, takes on the Nurburgring. Mini

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 of Mini E electric vehicles last 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.