Battery size is the main problem for Mini E drivers, not the range!

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 26, 2010

It comes as a surprise that the main complaint of Mini E drivers is due not to the range but with the size of the battery pack. This is of course, aside from the complaints over the range meter that becomes problematic in cold weather. The University of California-Davis asked 57 Mini E drivers about their experiences in using the electric Mini in everyday life.

Average trip length is recorded to be about 30 miles, which fits in perfectly with the car's range.

About 45% of those surveyed reported that a "typical" range from a single charge was 100 miles. Nonetheless, BMW says that most reports indicate range in "normal" conditions is between 70 and 100 miles.

The sentiment of those surveyed is mostly positive towards the Mini E but they say that they opted for another vehicle when they needed rear seats or a usable trunk. For the approximately 5000 lithium-ion battery cells to fit inside the Mini hatchback, the engineers at BMW had to remove the rear seats.

They placed the cells (and their cooling systems) underneath a mountainous bulkhead just aft of the front seats. This arrangement leaves the cockpit unencumbered but it cuts into half the Mini's seating capacity.

It also drastically reduces the cargo space. These are actually issues that could be resolved with BMW's ActiveE, the next step in electrification program that will be leased to consumers.

Based upon the larger 1-series coupe, the batteries are packaged in the driveline tunnel and underneath the trunk floor, allowing the car to retain its four-seat configuration. The batteries are smaller, due to advances in lithium-ion chemistry. [via autonews - sub. required]

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