New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced in his State-of-the-City speech that BMW Group will loan a fleet of 10 Mini E electric zero-emissions cars to the City of New York. These vehicles will be used in its Street Condition Observation Unit, known as SCOUT, and will be among the 500 Mini Es being produced as part of a one-year pilot field study to determine the viability of electric vehicles in everyday use.
The Mini Es will be used by SCOUT inspectors, who drive New York City's five boroughs in search of potholes and graffiti, etc. The vehicle operators help identify problems on the city's streets and ascertain whether complaints logged into the City's 311 phone system are being adequately addressed. SCOUT vehicles log nearly 100 miles per day. The vehicles are scheduled to begin arriving in April.
The Mini E is the first product of BMW's Project i - a program designed to research and develop transportation strategies and new types of vehicles specifically to meet the needs of the world's growing mega-cities, of which New York is one.
"We are delighted to work with New York City to develop this new form of sustainable transport," said Jim McDowell, Vice President of Mini USA. "Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC initiative has demonstrated a keen understanding of the importance of sustainability, and we share the same vision and enthusiasm for developing new ideas, technologies and forms of transportation to make it a reality. The zero-emission Mini E is only our company's first step."
The Mini E can travel more than 150 miles on a single charge, and provides the agility and handling of a Mini Cooper. It's powered by a 150 kilowatt electric motor with the equivalent of 201hp. The energy comes from a high-performance rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Mini will install a special wall box into each customer's garage so that it can fully recharge a completely drained battery in just 2.5 hours.
The 500 Mini Es will be deployed in New York, New Jersey and Los Angeles, with additional vehicles being tested in Berlin, Germany and London. Of the 500 US vehicles, 450 will be leased to customers that applied online at miniusa.com to be part of the one-year field study. The others will be dedicated to full-time extensive and intense daily use in select fleets, such as the NYC SCOUT fleet. Those selected will be asked to provide ongoing real world use feedback to BMW on their experience with the zero-emission electric cars. More than twice the number of people applied as there are cars available in the US.
BMW has also arranged to provide Mini Es to the city of Los Angeles to test it under different conditions from those in New York City.