Blog: Electric Mini
Dave Leggett | 14 October 2009
The Mini E I drove yesterday took a little while to get used to. For starters, you press the start button and there's no audible sound. And there's no 'creep' either when you engage 'drive' (it's not an automatic, it essentially has a single gear). If you can recall the fairground experience on the electric 'dodgems' or 'bumper cars', the initial inching forward of is very like that. Lightly press down on the accelerator and you are magically in forward motion, just the gentle sound of rubber and tarmac coming into contact.
Is that lack of sound potentially dangerous? I was reminded of a conversation I had with an engineer at Lotus earlier this year. If you are moving at over 20mph, there's enough road noise to warn people that you are coming – the potential problems are at speeds under 20mph.
You can read more about the Mini E and the field test that BMW/Mini is doing in the UK by following the below link. What's the car like to drive? Not at all bad, although the regenerative 'braking' (it recovers energy from your forward momentum when you take your foot off the accelerator pedal) takes a little getting used to. Maybe in version 2.0 it could be toned down a bit. The car is quick though, and there is plenty of torque. Lugging the battery didn't feel like a major impairment.
You can perhaps get a sense of how quiet the car is in the below clip. It ends a bit abruptly, so what was I going on to say? I think it was '….part of the R&D that is going towards the development of the 'megacity' BMW EV sub-brand'.
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