MINI senior vice president brand management Dr. Wolfgang Armbrecht and technical director Ulrich Kranz were interviewed by MINI Space (a MINI blog tied to MINI International Magazine) about the new MINI E. It’s a great read for those interested in the story behind the car and the technical aspects around the powerplant. Here’s an excerpt:

MINIInternational: Will the MINI E retain that typical MINI agility, the renowned go-kart feeling?

Dr Wolfgang Armbrecht: Yes, for sure. The go-kart feeling is one of the core values of MINI, which is why the engineers have tailored the chassis to suit this new set of parameters. The MINI E has sensational acceleration and the driving experience behind the wheel really is a lot of fun. Plus, the car is extremely quiet, which gives you the feeling of gliding through the countryside.

MINIInternational: And how far can you “glide” on a single battery charge?

Ulrich Kranz: 240 kilometres if you drive at a moderate pace or 200 kilometres using the motor’s full output. Incidentally, the driver can also do his bit to push the car’s range up even further. Energy recovery is the key here. With this technology, 75 percent of deceleration in city traffic can be achieved without using the brakes.

MINIInternational: You’re going to have to explain that…

Ulrich Kranz: As soon as the driver takes his foot off the accelerator, the electric motor assumes the role of a generator. This creates braking force, and the power recovered from the kinetic energy is fed into the battery. The intensive use of this technology allows the car’s range to be extended by up to 20 percent. Added to which, you can actually see it increasing. Where you would normally find the rev counter, the MINI E has a charge display which tells the driver how much energy has been recovered and how full or empty the battery is. You can therefore influence the range of the MINI E through your driving style.

MINIInternational: Sooner or later even the best battery will run out. How do I recharge the MINI E?

Ulrich Kranz: The fastest way of charging the battery fully is using a wallbox supplied to all 500 MINI E drivers. The wallbox is installed in the driver’s garage and enables a higher amperage, which ensures extremely short charging times. Indeed, the wallbox takes no more than two and a half hours to charge up the battery.

MINIInternational: Why are only 500 units of the MINI E being produced and why will they only be given to customers in the US?

Dr Wolfgang Armbrecht: The MINI E is being run as a pilot project. Over the next 12 months we will develop a clear idea of the potential of electrically powered mobility – in the everyday lives of everyday customers. Our aim is to build up a representative picture of the market potential of “electromobility”. What types of people will be our prospective customers? What requirements and expectations will they have? What share of the current market can be reached with electric vehicles? What kind of driving cycles and user profiles are we seeing in everyday conditions? We take our customers very seriously, so this feedback is extremely important to us.

Ok it’s a little odd to read someone from MINI interviewing someone else from MINI but it’s definitely worth a click.

+ MINI E Creators Interviewed / MINI International

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