15 Beijing residents were handed the keys of the all-electric Mini E today, starting a one-year real-world trial. Test drivers in the other participating Chinese city, Shenzhen, will get the keys next month. In total, BMW will assign 50 test vehicles to private users in China.
Similar trials have been carried out in the US and Western Europe to collect data and feedback. The Chinese government, working hard to build the native EV industry, has shown great interest and been directly involved in the local trial program, which is implemented through a cooperation between BMW and three state-controlled enterprises: State Grid, Southern Grid, China Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC).
Powered by a pack of 48 lithium-ion batteries, the electric motor of Mini E can put out 15okW and 220Nm, enabling the car to go as fast as 152km/h and reach 100 km/h from 0 in just 8.5 seconds. When fully charged, Mini E can run up to 240 km nonstop, helped by a regenerative brake.
All sounds good except that the test model has only two front seats. The back seats were remove to accommodate the bulky battery pack.
Later this year, another BMW EV, the ActiveE, will also begin field test in China.