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.