Blog: Dave LeggettMini E

Dave Leggett | 13 October 2009

I guess it's a sign of the times that I have two product events in my diary this week and neither involve flights to anywhere remotely exotic. Good (they take up less time)! For logistical reasons they are both being held at the same hotel in Farnborough, next to the Aerodrome. Later this week I'll get a look at the new Saab 9-5. But today there's a chance to get a drive in an electric Mini, the Mini E – which is being subjected to a real-world pilot project in which the cars are tested by private drivers in everyday conditions; after the US it is being extended to Europe and the UK project is about to start.

One interesting detail is that the car on pilot test in the US was shipped with a 'wallbox' – some sort of transformer that ups the rate of charge. BMW says that the wallbox will be installed in the customer's garage, enable higher amperage, and thus 'provide for extremely short charging times'. Wallboxes fully recharge batteries after a 'mere two-and-a-half hours'. That's roughly comparable with the very much smaller cell phone, so I wonder what the implications of that might be for the local grid...


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