- VEHICLES & DRIVERS
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At the Oxford startline of the 2011 Bridgestone Eco-Rally, visitors will discover exactly how zero-emission cars fit in with today’s lifestyle and how well they cope with the demands of everyday driving. Oxford Brookes will be displaying one of the electric MINIs which took part in a year-long field trial centred around Oxford. 40 volunteers in two consecutive groups took part in the trial. Through questionnaires and interviews with the drivers, Oxford Brookes’ psychologists provided one of the best insights yet into public attitudes towards electric vehicles in the UK.
The MINI E is the first product of BMW's Project i - a program designed to research and develop new types of vehicles for sustainable mobility. The car is being tested on British roads by a mixture of private, corporate and public sector drivers - all of whom will give valuable feedback to the project consortium and UK government.
"On an average day-to day basis my driving hasn't changed. I would say I've found about twice a month, maybe more, two or three times a month, I have had to either rethink my plan or I've had to take my other car ...." - Oxfordshire MINI E trial user.
During everyday usage, the MINI E can travel around 100-120 miles (up to 156 miles in ideal conditions) on a single charge, depending on driving style and conditions, and of course, has the all the characteristic performance for which the MINI is famous. It can sprint from 0-62mph in just 8.5 seconds and has an electronically-limited top speed of 95mph. Power is produced by a front-mounted 150-kilowatt electric motor which generates the equivalent of 201 hp.
The motor’s energy supply comes from a high-performance rechargeable lithium-ion battery which is installed in the rear of the car in place of the back seats. The battery unit – which uses the same technology already widely used in mobile phones and laptops – combines ample storage capacity with remarkable power output. The MINI E can be recharged from empty in around four and a half hours via the dedicated 32 Amp charging point at the MINI E drivers’ homes. The MINI E’s drivetrain features regenerative braking – which claws back the energy lost when the driver releases the accelerator – to extend the range by up to 20 percent.