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MINI E (electric) UK Test Drivers Sought

Tue, 01 Sep 2009

Pioneering
drivers wanting to be part of the MINI E UK research project can now
apply online to lease one of twenty prototype cars destined for British
roads.  The online application form will be hosted at www.electricMINI.co.uk from 01- 30 September 2009.  Comprehensive details of the project are also available on this website.


Each
MINI E will be available to lease for six months from December this
year. A second round of applications will then be invited in 2010,
allowing a further twenty drivers to lease an all-electric MINI for a
six month period.


Accounting
for current development and manufacturing costs, the monthly lease fee
for a MINI E would normally be priced at £550 per month.


However,
earlier this year a BMW Group-led consortium was awarded part of a £25m
fund by the Technology Strategy Board, the Government-backed
organisation that promotes technology innovation across the UK. This
funding has meant that the monthly lease fee can be reduced to £330 per
month, which includes VAT, insurance and maintenance (terms and
conditions apply). 


The
MINI E driver also pays for the electricity used.  Fully re-charging
the battery using off-peak electricity at current prices will cost
around £1.50. Using higher-rate daytime electricity, the cost will
still be less than £4.00.


All
applicants to the research trial will have to meet certain criteria to
be eligible to take part.  Firstly, customers must reside in South East
England, within a triangular geographical area joining Andover, Oxford
and West London. A full list of eligible post codes and a map of the
relevant area is available on the website.


MINI
E test drivers must also have a private garage, car port or parking
space at their home.  Not only for safety and security reasons, but
primarily to ensure that a high power charging unit in the form of a
wall box measuring approximately 0.6m x 0.6m can be installed by
Southern Electric. This wall box will be supplied with every MINI E and
also includes a 6.5m charging cable. The 240V/32 amp supply provided by
the wall box can fully charge the MINI E’s lithium-ion battery pack
from empty in just 4.5 hours. An adaptor for use with an ordinary 13
amp socket will also be supplied, but the lower capacity for charge
means it will take around 10 hours to provide a full charge. Therefore
it is only appropriate for occasional use.


Maintenance,
servicing and technical assistance will be provided by dedicated BMW
Group UK ‘flying doctors’. These technicians will be supported by
selected MINI dealers within the MINI E research area.


Following
the launch of MINI E research projects in North America and Germany,
the UK trial is a collaborative effort between a BMW Group UK-led
consortium. Additional funding is provided by the Technology Strategy
Board as part of a UK-wide programme involving trials of 340 ultra-low
carbon vehicles from several manufacturers. 


Southern
Electric will be responsible for the electricity infrastructure in the
research area and is committed to supplying ‘green energy’ to all
drivers of the MINI E.*  The region in which Southern Electric owns the
supply network is an important reason for  working with a geographical
research sample in South East England.


Oxford
Brookes University’s Sustainable Vehicle Engineering Centre will manage
the collation of qualitative and quantitative research throughout the
UK project. This will include analysis of driver experiences with the
MINI E, as well as reviewing the technical information provided by the
data-logging units fitted to every MINI E.


The
consortium is strengthened by public sector organisations from the
South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), Oxford City Council and
Oxfordshire County Council.  These organisations are working to develop
high economic growth in their areas through innovation and developing
high value job opportunities through projects such as this.  A further
20 MINI E vehicles will be distributed among the MINI E consortium
members for testing in a fleet environment. This will necessitate the
establishment of a technical infrastructure in each organisation’s
local area and aid a common objective to be at the forefront of
sustainable transport initiatives. 


With
MINI already firmly established in the hearts of British motorists and
the opportunity to drive a 204hp, emission-free version of the car in
the UK now on offer, a similar rush of interest is expected. 


Ends.


Notes to Editors:


*Post codes for MINI E UK Research Project participants:


































































BA 7-15



OX 1-6



SN 38



BA 20-22



OX 8-14



SO 14-24



BH 1-25



OX 18,20



SO 30-32



BH 31



OX 33,34



SO 40-43



BN 17-18



PO 1-22



SO 45



DT 1-5



PO 30-41



SO 50-53



DT 9-11



RG 1-17



SP 1-11



GU 3



RG 21-28



TW 1-8



GU 7-20



RG 30,40



TW 11-19



GU 24



RH 14



UB 1-10



GU 26-35



SL 0-9



W 3-5



HP 9-15



SN 1-16



W 7, 13



(Southern
Electric (part of Scottish and Southern Energy Group) guarantees that
for every unit of electricity used by a MINI E in the UK research
project, it will put a unit of 100 per cent cleaner, greener hydro
electricity back into the national grid.

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