The BMW Group will be introducing 500 electric Mini E vehicles to California, New York and New Jersey for testing with private and corporate customers.
The Mini E will be shipped to the US following its global debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show on November 20.
The new electric car has been confirmed for production. The front-wheel drive car will reach 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds and go on to an electronically limited top speed of 95mph.
Based on the current Mini hatch, the car will initially be available as a two-seater. The space normally inhabited by rear passengers is reserved for a lithium-ion battery.
In the USA, users will be able to recharge a battery that has been completely drained in two and a half hours using a wallbox that will be supplied as standard with every Mini E. A fully charged battery will give a range of 150 miles.
Maintenance on the cars will have to be carried out by a special service centre which is staffed with engineers which have been specifically trained to handle servicing for the Mini E.
Production of the 500 cars will take place at Mini’s Oxford and Munich sites and is scheduled for completion before the end of 2008.
The Oxford plant will be responsible for manufacturing the entire vehicle on the standard production line, with the exception of the drive components and the lithium-ion battery.
The units will then be transferred to BMW’s Munich plant where the electric motor, battery units, performance electronics and transmission will be integrated.
Currently the plan is for 500 cars to be leased over the course of one year in North America, and then returned to BMW Group for evaluation and further testing.
A spokesman for Mini said it is possible that a small number will make their way in to European markets for introduction to senior political figures in 2009.
He said: "At this stage there is no plan to market the MINI E in Europe in the way it will be rolled out in the USA."