Electric MINIs coming to the States?

According to Autoweek, BMW plans to build a few electric MINIs and send them to the states to help meet the need for zero-emissions vehicles sold in California.

BMW plans to export nearly 500 electric versions of its Mini car to California, company sources said.

The electric Minis are being built at the Mini factory in Oxford, England, without engines, gearboxes or fuel tanks, then shipped to Munich, Germany, where they are being fitted with electric powertrains.

BMW sources told Automotive News Europe that 490 of the Minis will be leased to selected customers in California and 10 will be used as show cars.

At this time, we are going to add this to the rumor category, as there hasn’t been any confirmation that they are really going to build them and no dates have been set. But we’ll be keeping a very close eye on this that’s for sure.

Any takers?

Thanks everyone for sending this in!

[ BMW builds electric Mini for California ] Autoweek.com
  • Ken

    Sign me up. I wish BMW would just make a production electric MINI to begin with. I think the market is there to support it. The technology is there, they just need to get the cost down to that of a normal gas MINI. Hybrid Technologies in New York has been converting MINI’s to electric, though the cost is double.

  • dr

    Just to be clear…You will soon be able to rent an electric mini for more than it costs to operate the gasoline version

  • C4

    So let me take a wild guess here…. How much are these electric MINIs going to go for? $60K? $70K? $80K? Sorry but I don’t see these extremely exclusive and rare factory electric MINIs to go anywhere below those prices given their very low production numbers.

    I think MINI is going after some heavy celebrity exposure (The ones that can afford these rare toys) and perhaps to give the boys over at Tesla motors a few more reasons to have sleepless nights.

    I’ll believe it when I see it. Please publish the specs of these cars.

    It also seems to me that BMW/MINI has now entered “desperation” mode and finally realized that the MINI is the perfect showcase for alternate energy technologies.

    While you are at it, MINI, please re-visit your shortsighted decision to keep the MINI Dooper out of our shores. I strongly believe that there is a HUGE business case to bring the Diesel MINIs stateside.

    What happened to the company used to take huge risks? When MINI first opened up business in the US during March 2002, gas was under $2 per gallon and SUVs were the kings of the road and sales charts. You could have argued that there was no business case to bring a small “Niche”boutique car to the US, but it did succeed and look where you are now. I see the same short term mentallity getting in the way of bringing over the MINI Dooper, the true Toyota Prius killer.

  • Nathaniel Salzman

    As fuel cell and battery technologies evolve, having more and more electric-powered vehicles is going to help the infrastructure for those technologies continue to grow, which will be fabulous. I hope that if this electric MINI does come to be, that it’s a flexible enough platform to allow different power storage sources – i/e battery vs. fuel cell.

  • Vanwall

    Geez, no exhaust burble. What’s with that?

  • Jon

    Nice move Mini, would still rather see the Mini D but this is a tiny step in the right direction.

  • AN

    I recall McDowell talking about hybrids and electric MINI not being possible because they’d weigh too much, and every MINI still has to handle like a MINI. I can’t imagine the batteries are now so small that this would be fixed.

  • eto

    I agree with Jon, if they can bring an electric MINI for California, bring the Diesel for the rest of us!

  • Jack07734

    Please don’t get me wrong here I feel like most that we need to remove ourselves from gasoline. However in an area that has an overloaded electrical grid are electric vehicles a good idea?

    Just picture what will happen (in the future) when people plug in several thousand cars for recharging.

    Happy Motoring, Jack

  • C4

    Memo to the fine folks over at Munich and Oxford… Quit wasting your time with Tesla wanna be MINIs. Please make a concerted effort to bring over the MINI Dooper, a car that us “real” people can afford. The business case for a diesel is there guys. What else do you need? $7 per gallon gas to change your minds?

  • BwanaYak

    It’s not MINI that’s putting the veto on the MINI-D, it’s the State of California. The MINI diesel wouldn’t pass emissions testing, and the cost to re-engineer the engine to get it to pass would make the car too expensive.

  • Ian F


    The business case is simple: the developement cost to EPA certify the D spread over the number of cars they might sell… when they are already selling every car they bring over here at MSRP and production capacity at the plant is practically maxed out.

    For MINI to bring over the D they need to be convinced that the buying public is willing to pay higher than MCS prices for cars with less than MC performance.

    I’m not saying I don’t like diesels (I own two of them), but I can completely understand why we aren’t getting the D and are not likely to get the car anytime soon. You are more likely to see diesel Fiats.

    The electric MINIs are most likely a marketing exercise, I agree, but I’d rather have one of those than a MINI D. Solar panels on my roof + inverter bank in my basement = I drive for FREE!

    Yes, I’m being simplistic, but no more so than blindly ranting at BMW for not bringing the Dooper to the US…

  • Chad

    So the D isn’t 50-state capable, but an electric will be 49-state unavailable? Oh well, guess it’s a publicity stunt in the vein of the H 7’s.

  • Fred

    If the MINI could run on cynicism and sarcasm, we would get a lot more efficiency, though emissions would remain about the same.

  • DB

    This isn’t anything new. Hybrid technologies has been building electric MINIs for quite sometime. They are far from cheap (about US60K) and goes a bit more than 100 miles on a charge. You can read more about it here.

    And, again to be clear, it’s not 100% the fault of MINI/BMW that we don’t get the MINI D. It is the fault of California and about 7 other states that have emmission laws requiring all cars to meet the same stringent CO2 and NOX levels. You can read more about it here

  • C4

    I understand. However, MB, VW and Honda all offer/will offer diesels. Wait for gas to hit $6-$7 per gallon and the “Business case” will all of a sudden make sense.

    Oh and people are willing to shell out $25K-$30K for a Prius, hardly a handling or performance oriented car.

    Sorry but I think MINI’s bean counters need to get their heads out of the sand.

  • Jon

    C4 they are more worried about making a SUV for you 😉

    I think it will be interesting to see the cost and specs on this car, for me personally a plug in electric would work well, although between the long term battery issue and and overall ecology are questionable.

  • Franz

    Mr. Bean, pull your head out of the sand. If you do some objective research of scientific literature, there is no doubt that climate change is as real as gravity. Most evidence also points to human causes. Your drilling claim and political reference are so stupid as to not even deserve a response. Yes, Bean, I am an environmentalist, but I’m not wacko about it (I drive a Mini not a Segway). I’m SO tired of idiot right-wingers ignoring any facts that don’t suit their ideology.

    DB, yes California’s diesel restrictions are debatable, but it is of course Mini’s design choice that excluded it from already existing California restrictions. So in the end it was BMW/Mini’s choice.

    I do agree with concerns for the CA electric grid, but that has been improving. There are California mandates coming that require options for electrics and plug-in hybrids. I’m sure BMW/Mini is simply responding to those criteria. I’d love to see an electric Mini, but I’ll have to see how practical the range and speed restrictions are. Given the weight and limited space available for batteries, I’m guessing it will be a city car rather than a highway commuter, like the Hybrid technologies Minis. If they can make it a commuter, sign me up.

    Jon, as for the environmental impact of batteries, the impacts of battery disposal and recycling vary dramatically by battery type chosen. Some newer batteries like Nickel Metal Hydride have very little ecological impact, last for the life of a car, and are recycled by the dealers.

  • Capnmini

    Thank you Franz I just cant stand when people ignore the signs that we’re getting all over the world. Mr. Bean…if you as a person dont believe in being more energy efficient and in keeping this earth the way we found it thousands of years ago, thats cool with me but think about your children and grandchildren since i know that they are the ones that will suffer the consecuenses of our actions today.

  • dr

    What made the cliamte change before automobiles and factories? Maybe whatever that is….has more to do with climate change than we do.

    The problem with the so called science is that they when they study something they commonly isolate one variable(remember the scientific method)…..This is why we commonly hear one week that coffee or insert item here_____ will kill you and the next that it is good for you. Furthermore they only study the correlation of things and report the observation of the corralary….. To draw a conclusion on a single corralary is a ridiculous but widely accepted part of this hoax of man made glodal warming. Perhaps that big burning ball of gas in space has vastly more to do with it.

    Red cars get more speeding tickets than any other color car, What is the inference? A. the color of car causes tickets

    B. the speed which the operator drives causes tickets C. police cause tickets

  • Jim W.

    O.K., I’ll weigh in and say that global warming as an issue will dramatically fade after Jan. 20, 2009.

    That is, it’s a political issue, and the science supporting the theory is being distorted by politics. I thought the scientists were traditionally the skeptics, but in this case they represent the dogma. Let us not challenge them because they have the majority. Alas, Copernicus should have just gone along with the mainstream too!

    And while we wait for the fossil fuels to run out, so the earth can begin to cool, I’ll take a MINI D.

  • Franz

    Bean, you sir are clearly an idiot! I’m not a liberal or a Dem. I resent the attacks on my patriotism. You sir are a troll and give us conservatives a bad name. I am a research scientist, not a climatologist, but a PhD in Molecular Biophysic. Nonetheless DR, don’t lecture me on the scientific method. An individual study attempts to isolate specific variables to make a specific, narrow conclusion, however if hundreds of independent observations strongly indicate a trend, a reasonable broad conclusion can be reached. Climate change has happened in the planet’s past, independent of human cause. However, the majority of studies show that the current rate of climate change exceeds anything in geological history that did not involve a cataclysmic event. Studies also strongly suggest acceleration proportionate to greenhouse gas emission, largely through human use. Get your facts straight!

    Jim W. – We scientist are skeptics until the evidence is overwhelming. The science on global warming has been overwhelmingly clear for over two decades and scientists are largely pissed at how troglodytes have distorted or ignored the facts and politicians of both parties have ignored a very pressing issue.

    Sorry about the rant, but the politicizing of science ticks me off.

  • robble

    Mr. Bean,

    I think you are way out of line. This is not a political soapbox to be expressing your views on a very sensitive/highly charged political topic. It’s a car place.

    Call FOX news if you want to spread your inflammatory words.

  • JM

    Are you for real mr bean.. it not about Liberals OR conserveries its about money, why are we wasting so much money on oil and gas, and you need to check your facts, befor you say thing like “We have enough oil in this country to last us 150 years” and if we did its ok that little kid are getting lung disease form smog, And you everthing that big oil companys love. They dont care if the USA is rich or poor, they are rich and they can be rich any were in the world. and how will mcCain make gas cheaper ..gas will never be cheaper if we dont stop using it so carelessly,

    It would be sweet to have an electric versions of the Mini. I would save alot of money,

  • TO

    Does anyone know if other cars evoke such emotion? Whew! Anyway maybe the electric Mini will have a recording of the burble that can be piped through external speakers.

  • C4

    Time to vote Mr.Bean, McCainRules and the other multiple personalities off the island.


  • TO

    I vote that Mr.Bean stays. I “taruly” enjoy the brinksmanship sparked by this subject. So Mr.Bean please don’t pull the pin. The only trouble caused is the realization of my lack of eloquence when engaging in the fevered pitch of hand to hand verbal combat. Hang in there!

  • C4

    Mr. Bean, how many times have you issued apologies for your behavior, just to turn around and attack/insult those who don’t agree with your right wing/neoconservative ideologies?

    Sorry, you just don’t sound credible or sincere much like the backwards Republikkan party and its “leaders” you seem to adore and worship so much.

    This is not a political blog or the Rush’s KKK radio hour.

  • C4

    TO, if you enjoy Mr. Bean’s verbal assaults, I suggest you too find a different venue for your verbal orgies. This is not one of them.

  • TO

    Anyone with your passion has to stay! No apologies required. And don’t stop politicizing. Heck I’m left of Attila the Hun and plan to write in Pat Paulson. This old 06 MCS driver appreciates eveyone’s comments. Never can tell when I might learn something. If the electric Mini has a super charger whine programmed into the stereo–done deal.

  • C4

    TO, passion is one thing. Openly insulting/attacking others and name calling is quite another.

  • C4

    Don’t play the “sensitive” card Mr. Bean. Bailing out when it is more convenient for you eh? You got caught buddy.

    Good bye and good riddeance.

  • TO

    C4–Verbal orgy-now what does that mean? Is that an automotive term. I think not. I believe the first amendment might need a perusal here. By the way, do you know which end of a Mini to point into the wind?

  • C4

    First amendment doesn’t apply on a privately owned web blog.

  • DB

    I’m thinking it must be a full moon this month again or something.

    Comments are now closed.

  • DB

    comments are again open. Lets get back on track…

    And, because I am unable to contact him directly, Mr. Bean has used no less than 6 different usernames (all with false email address) on 6 different IP addresses.

    If Mr. Bean would like to contact us with a valid email address about the possibility of getting commenting privileges restored, that would be great.

    Thank you.

  • C4

    Thank you DB. I am sure he is using TOR which is a client application that allows you to browse the internet via an “Onion” network. This means that his true IP address is hidden and lies beneath a plethora of servers scattered around the world making detection extremely difficult but not impossible.

    Look up Tor and Onion network for a better explanation.

  • Aaron

    Considering the engineering feat BMW/MINI must do to qualify a percentage of “sold” production vehicles in CA as zero emission, I certainly wonder, like many others, why they would not invest the same level of funds into developing a US-marketable diesel. I understand that there may not be room on the R56 for the urea tanks. However, the R55 might have room for them.

    Having said that, I would love to see a hybrid MINI coupe at some point. I just don’t know where the extra room would come from though. Maybe this is a problem for the R60 to solve? I am sure MINI and BMW have plans to offer the R60 with different engine options to be sold in the North America as well as the rest of the world.

  • Dr Obnxs

    Stop pining for a Mini D in the US in the short term. It won’t happen for years. If you really want to know why, look up SCR (selective catalytic reduction) emissions treatment for diesel exhaust. For the long term prospects, I think Honda is working on a system that doesn’t require urea injection as a nitrogen source.

    while you’re at it, look up diesel particulate emissions. This is where the real stumbling block is in US deisel deployment. Next item is refining capacity. All these things are out there if you care to look at learn.

    And I’m sure that the small number of electric Minis won’t be money makers, more like technology test-beds. It would be interesting how they’re categorizing the expenses… R&D or production? Clearly, they are thinking about longer range as emissions requirements get stricter, and energy costs become a larger and larger amount of the cost of ownership of cars…..

    But anyway, the more that come out, the better. The total number of deployed electrics can be nothing but good when it comes to maturing the technology, and lowering the unit cost via increased volume and the expected efficiencies in manufacturing that they will bring….


  • Aaron

    I think most people on these boards know that the MINI D is not coming to the US any time soon and are pretty familiar with the technical and regulatory reasons behind this.

    But widespread diesel in the US is not something that’s coming years from now – it’s there now. As I’m sure you know, VW is introducing the new TDI engines in the 2009 Jetta. The engine is small enough that unlike the other Bluetec engines, it doesn’t require liquid urea to meet CA emissions standards as a catalytic NOx trap suffices. I think the argument with MINI is that BMW/MINI could have decided to invest in development of similar clean diesel engine technology…but there seems to be little indication that they’re interested. Folks have been clamoring for a MINI D here in the US for years. My beef with MINI is that they ignored a market that I think has strong potential to expand appeal for the brand.

  • el1even

    i just saw a couple myself on the site of bmw group