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She's electric! The plug-in Mini E

Last week Mini released pictures and information on its limited run, all-electric Mini E, ahead of its public unveiling at next month's Los Angeles Auto Show.

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Derek Fung

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2008 Los Angeles Auto Show Last week Mini released pictures and information on its limited run, all-electric Mini E, ahead of its public unveiling at next month's Los Angeles Auto Show.

Like a Mini ...
but with a few more yellow plug stickers than normal.

In the US, 500 units of the Mini E will be produced and leased to private and corporate customers. Although BMW has kept quiet on pricing, leases will be for at least one year and the cost of which will cover all maintenance and a wall mounted charging station.

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Power to the people
The Mini has an electric motor, which produces 150kW of power and 220Nm of torque. This means that it has more power than either the Mini Cooper or turbocharged Mini Cooper S. At almost 1.5 tonnes though, it is some 400-450kg heavier than a conventional engine found in a Mini. This means that the E's 0-100km/h time is a good, if not spectacular, 8.5 seconds — somewhere between the times posted by the Cooper and Cooper S.

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Give a little, take a little
Mini E drivers will forego the rear seats and potential cargo space to house the car's Lithium-ion battery pack. On a full charge, the batteries will provide the E with a range of about 240km.

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Wall-E
All Mini E drivers will have a wall-box charging station installed in their garages that can recharge the car in 2.5 hours. The battery pack, however, can also be recharged via any standard power outlet, although charging time will be greater.

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Scientifically proven!
This initial run of 500 Mini Es will go to homes in New York, New Jersey and California. "Owners" will be in constant contact with BMW engineers as the company tries to scientifically evaluate the behaviour of drivers of electric vehicles.

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