MINI USA VP Jim McDowell Interviewed

Plenty Magazine (an environmentally focused publication) had a brief chance to sit down with MINI USA VP Jim McDowell recently to ask a couple questions. While the interview is short, it’s an interesting read for the MINI enthusiast. Here’s an excerpt:

Plenty Magazine: Does Mini have plans to offer a hybrid or maybe a more efficient car in the US?

Jim McDowell: We are very open to alternative drive trains. We have made no announcements about anything that we will be doing in addition to our current lineup. On the point of hybrids, when you already get 37 miles per gallon, where is the further advantage of adding those heavy batteries to a car and having to deal with the environmental aspects of those batteries at the end of the lifespan?

+ Mini Cooper: The car of tomorrow is here today / Plenty Magazine

  • Greg

    Cha Ching! More profit to be made off the symbolism over substance crowd. Suckers!

  • Big Jim Swade

    Why won’t they just talk about bringing the diesel to the states. I think they would be surprised at the interest here.

  • c4

    I think MINI does well by staying away from the “Hybrid” fraud. This technology is marred with issues from all angles of the equation and it is environmentally more harmful than vehicles with regular internal combustion engines.

    The only way I can see MINI bringing over diesels here is to either develop better technology or by industry to offer lower sulfur/cleaner diesel fuel. Unfortunately, the trucking industry lobby in this country has a strong hold against cleaner diesel because this means increased cost of fuel and operating costs.

    There are no place for urea tanks in the current MINI.

    But MINI can’t afford to sit and watch other automakers taking advantage of newer diesel technology in the US market. Take for example, Honda which will be abandoning hybrid technology in favor of Diesels. The ’09 Honda Accord diesel will be offered by the fall and the Civic, et al will follow next.

    Diesel, in my opinion, is the only truly better alternative to gasoline at present.

  • Dr Obnxs

    Three comments on his posting: 1)he’s flat out wrong about battery recycling. There’s enough Ni in NiMH batteries to make it cost effective to recycle, and Li-Ion batteries aren’t toxic at all. 2)As fast as a porsche across an intersection? Crap, a bicycle is faster for the first couple feet. So what? 3) Others already pointed out the math errors of his MPG stuff.

    For deisels, they’ll have to get one of the non-urea technologies from another company. But so what? There’s no BMW iron in any of the Mini diesels to date. We already have lower sulpher deisel fuel. There’s an interesting in one of the car mags that talks about US diesel production capacity, and how it doesn’t have much headroom. I’d have to say that conservation and efficiency are the only viable short term alternatives to gasoline now.

    Overall, the interview is close to contentless marketing banter.

    Matt