By Shannon Arvizu
The Mini Cooper is fun and sporty–but what if it was also the greenest car on the market? This year marks the field trial of the new Mini-E, an all electric Mini Cooper. It consumes no gas, releases zero-emissions from its tailpipe, and has lots of high torque for a zippy pick-up on the road.
So how does it work? The Mini-E has a state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery. The battery stores 150 miles of electric propulsion. When plugged into a 240-volt special charging wall box (installed by arrangement with the dealer), the Mini-E recharges in 2.5 hours. Given that most Americans drive less than 40 miles a day, this range should be quite sufficient for daily commutes and more.
The Mini-E also boasts major savings in fuel costs. Given average electricity rates and drive patterns, Tom Gage, the CEO of AC Propulsion (which produced the drive system for the Mini-E), estimates that most drivers will spend three cents per mile. At $2 per gallon gasoline, that is about 60 percent less than what you would pay for fuel in a regular Mini Cooper. At $4 per gallon gasoline, you spend about 85 percent less.
450 lucky people in Los Angeles and the New York and New Jersey area will be chosen to lease the Mini-E for one year . Drivers will be selected from among the 1,800 applications received by the company. Winners will be announced in March. While the leasing price may seem a tad costly ($850/month) , this has not deterred many enthusiastic potential drivers from the opportunity to take the hottest new green car of the year for a spin.