BMW MINI E: PR Meets Reality

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
bmw mini e pr meets reality

BMW is playing some PR roulette at the DC Auto Show [via Autoblog Green] with a “study” ostensibly proving that people who lease an electric MINI are “delighted” with the car. As if self-selection weren’t already an issue in a study of people who voluntarily spend $850 per month on a small hatchback, the 57 respondents (out of 450 MINI E guinea pigs) were (you guessed it) self-selected. Why the University of California Davis allows its name to appear on this blatant PR fabrication is difficult to fathom. Especially considering the MINI E rollout was a disaster, the product was compromised, and there are plenty of MINI E critics out there.

Several of these unhappy MINI E test pilots spoke to the NY Times recently, complaining about falling range in cold weather. Originally the range was touted as 124-149 miles, but in cold weather it seems 70-90 is a more realistic range, with power fade over 70 mph also reported in cold conditions. BMW spokesfolks fess up:

We are absolutely aware of it, and there’s no real fix except to drive in the most efficient way possible. There is reduced range in cold weather conditions, and it is up to 30 percent.

So now you know. Incidentally, the lack of active thermal management is a criticism that was recently leveled at the Nissan Leaf.

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6 of 9 comments
  • Ernie Ernie on Jan 27, 2010

    The only thing I *HATE* about my wife's tribeca is that you can't squeeze 300 miles out of a tank (safely) even if you're trying hard . . . When they design around 500 miles per charge "in the most efficient way possible", it'll be in my sights.

  • Beken Beken on Jan 27, 2010

    I don't think reduced range in cold weather was unexpected. I'm surprised it only worked out to a 30% reduction. I remember in some places, the GM's EV-1 got less than 10 miles on a full charge. I don't think electric vehicles are quite ready for primetime yet but give credit to those continuing to develop the technology. Slow improvements, they might get there some day.

  • David C. Holzman David C. Holzman on Jan 27, 2010

    >>>Why the University of California Davis allows its name to appear on this blatant PR fabrication is difficult to fathom. Part of UCD's PR. But as a UC grad, I'm disgusted.

  • Chris724 Chris724 on Jan 27, 2010

    A 70 mile range and 70mph would be fine for my daily needs. But $850/month is not so fine. What do they do for heat? A heat pump is not acceptable in freezing Chicago. Does the 70 mile range include multiple kilowatts of resistive heating?

    • See 1 previous
    • SVX pearlie SVX pearlie on Feb 03, 2011

      If I paid $850 per month, I'd expect a lot more car than that.