The first Mini E is now cruising around LA


One lucky Californian dude is cruising in style after he took delivery of the very first production electric Mini. The Mini-E is available for lease on a very limited basis reminiscent of the GM EV-1 from the ’90s. Except this time around, the plug-in electric car will only be in customers hands for one short year instead of three. Presumably, the 500 cars will be sent back to Mini for testing and evaluation after the one year is up.

Anyway, Peter Trepp has a blog up about the car and his experiences. He seems totally satisfied despite driving the car in bad LA traffic his first time out. Interestingly, he notes that the Mini-E drivers will not have to touch the brake pedal at all thanks to the strong brake regeneration system, which makes me think this vehicle has a similar system as the Chevy Volt that I didn’t like.

If it is the same, it’s really a one pedal driving system where when you decrease pressure on the accelerator, the breaks engage. This means no coasting, but also better energy recovery to extend the range.

Hopefully the Mini-E doesn’t meet the same crushing fate as the EV-1 after the leases are up. BMW hopefully has plans to produce these little guys, but a test like this is critical to the development process. Maybe by the time the Mini-E hits dealers the next time around, the batteries will have shrunk, allowing for a backseat and a bit more practicality.

[via Autoblog]