The UK field trial of Mini's electric-powered 'E' prototypes has ended.
During the UK trial the MINI E was tested on British roads by a mixture of 80 private, corporate and public sector drivers – all of whom gave valuable feedback to the project consortium and UK Government.
Between them they covered over a quarter of a million miles throughout the duration of the trial.
Full analysis is ongoing, however key findings from the first stage of the trial included:
■ Users felt strongly that public charging facilities for EVs were desirable and even essential. However, at the same time, the majority claimed that they coped without public charging facilities.
■ Users liked MINI E’s lack of noise, the convenience of home charging, low off peak power charges, not having to go to a petrol station and queue, driving a zero emissions vehicle, MINI E’s acceleration characteristics and regenerative braking.
■ Drawbacks include current mileage range for certain journeys, limited carrying capacity and sub-optimal car performance during the extremely cold weather conditions in December 2009 and January 2010.
These findings will ultimately be used in the engineering and infrastructure support of mass-produced electric vehicles and establish the social and economic issues and aspects of running an electric car.
Head of E-Mobility Innovation Projects, Dr Julian Weber, said: "All information generated during the MINI E field trials is being incorporated into the ongoing development and refinement of our first purpose built production car, the Megacity Vehicle BMW i3, due for launch in 2013.
The 40 MINI Es will remain in the UK and will be used in a small number of commercial partnerships, they will also be used at consumer and corporate events as well as in partnerships with government and industry stakeholders.
Jochen Goller, Director of MINI UK. “One has to remember that MINI E, despite being very thoroughly engineered for its task, is a modified existing production MINI Hatch. An EV designed from the ground up such as the BMW i3 will be able to address some of the issues around interior space and driving range. That is precisely the reason we are holding these trials.”
“We are very confident that findings from this trial will help us greatly in producing an exciting and extremely efficient vehicle for the urban environments of the future” Goller continued.