BMW’s first purely electric car has debuted. The MINI E is destined for the US (and possibly the UK) next year. It will be leased to 490 select customers in NYC and LA (two cities with the proper infrastructure to support the car we’re told) as a sort of rolling test bed for the German auto manufacturer.

The MINI E will sport some impressive performance numbers along with the (expected) incredible efficiency. Here’s the run-down:

– 204bhp / 150kw of power
– 162ft lbs (220nm) of torque
– 155 miles (250km) range
– 95mph (152km/h) top speed
– 2.5 hours to charge
– 0-62mph in 8.5sec.
– Energy consumption around 4.4 miles/kWh.
– Just under 1.5 tonne (3230lbs) in weight
– 2 seats, back seats taken up by lithium-ion batteries

As we’ve previously reported the MINI E uses lithium-ion batteries to power the front wheels. However what we’ve learned from several sites that have no broken the press embargo is that the MINI E will feature a single-stage helical gearbox that is located where the stock MINI’s rear seats are found. As with most hybrids, kinetic energy created while braking is stored within the lithium-ion batteries.

The MINI E will come standard with Interchange Yellow mirrors interior trim along with a number of special bits and pieces meant to distinguish this rarest of all production MINIs. The car will be manufactured in Oxford and then shipped to Germany where the propulsion system will then be fitted.

>“This step will allow the BMW Group to gain an initial knowledge of how mobility can be achieved efficiently using purely electrically powered vehicles. Our task here is to combine the ultimate driving experience with an efficient electrified drive with practically no emissions”, underlined Dr. Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG.

This test is meant to help the BMW Group with various alternative energy solutions currently being considered.

The MINI E will debut at the LA Motor Show in November and be released to 490 hand-picked customers in LA, NYC and possibly London later in 2009.

[pictobrowser bridger 72157608123362052]