Electric MINIs Coming to California

Posted: July 10, 2008

BMW has announced plans to build 500 all-electric MINI Coopers, but you can't buy one. Yet. 

The Detroit Free Press explains, "BMW said it will outfit several hundred MINI cars with electric motors to test the technology for future models."

Wired reports, "They're all destined for California to help meet the zero-emissions vehicle mandate that requires automakers to build 7,500 non-polluting cars by 2014. Automotive News quotes unnamed BMW sources saying 490 of the cars will be leased 'to selected customers' and the remaining rides will be used as show cars."

They'll be easy to spot.  CarCentral reports, "All will be painted silver but will feature yellow roofs."

The project is small-scale at the moment, but if BMW determines that it can be done efficiently, an electric MINI could be one of the most sought-after cars in the U.S.  In the midst of a dismal month for the auto industry, the MINI brand reported almost a 40 percent jump in sales in June.  Analysts credit the MINI's nearly 40mpg EPA rating, combined with its iconic style, BMW handling and sub-$20,000 price tag for the brand's success.  But a MINI that doesn't use a drop of gas?  We see waiting lists the Prius would envy.  Stay tuned.

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