This is probably BMW’s first deployment of a commercial electric car – the MINI E. Based on the current generation R56 MINI Cooper, the MINI E is powered by a 204 horsepower, 220Nm electric motor that draws power from a rechargeable lithium ion battery. Power is transmitted to the front wheels via a single-stage helical transmission.

0 to 100km/h takes 8.5 seconds and the vehicle has a top speed of 152km/h, which is not very high but is probably due to the maximum spin speed of the motor and the single-stage transmission, which is derived from the Cooper S helical gearbox. It’s essentially a single-speed automatic so there’s limitations on the top speed.

The MINI E has been reduced from a 2+2 into a strict 2 seater as the rear bench has been removed and replaced by the battery bank. The 5,088 lithium ion battery cells (grouped into 48 modules) have a maximum capacity of 35 kWh, and powers the motor at 380 volts. They provide for a maximum of 240km range on a full charge.

Some of the energy can be recovered via brake energy regeneration to provide a 20% boost in range. A full recharge via a plug-in charger draws 28 kWH from the power grid. Quick charging in 2.5 hours is enabled via a quick charger that will be installed in the customer’s garage for higher amperage.

500 units of the MINI E will be leased for private use in real daily traffic conditions. Leasing is based on a year’s term with the option to extend. The monthly lease payments will cover any required service (expected to be every 5,000km and at least after 6 months) including any maintenance and replacement of wear-and-tear parts. At the end of the lease, the cars returned to BMW will be subjected to comparative tests.

Look after the jump for more hi-res photos.

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