Mini E to take the stage in UK driving trials

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Car Rental News - 15/10/2009


Forty British drivers will drive Mini Es in a six-month long trial

The new Mini E will be rolled out for trials on British roads this year. Forty Britons will be driving the cars over a six-month trial period beginning just before Christmas. Among these 40 drivers, 20 were chosen from over 500 applications from members of the public.

The drivers will all get a 32-Ampere charging station for their electric Minis, installed in their garages by Scottish and Southern Energy, BMW's electric utility partner.

The drive trials are being conducted as a means to generate real-life data on how drivers actually experience the use of electric vehicles. The drivers will have their driving patterns tracked via a logging device. They will pay a rental fee for the use of the Minis, but will not be charged for auxiliary costs like maintenance and insurance. The electric cars will of course, generate no fuel costs.

Mini E's UK trials will be restricted England's southeast area, thereby limiting the area for which new charging equipment will have to be installed.

The cars are able to do up to 120 miles on full charge and drivers will incur no congestion charge while entering London's congestion zone. There is no congestion charge for zero-emissions vehicles.

The British drivers will, however, face a hurdle of another kind. The Mini Es being test-driven are all left-hand-drive cars, which is incongruous enough simply because of BMW's British origins. While this would be hugely inconvenient to the UK drivers testing them, BMW has said the test vehicles are part of a larger fleet produced in batches of 500, and that making changes to offer right-hand drive would be an unjustifiable expense.

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