Apply online for your electric Mini

I don't know if this is going to be a trend in marketing desirable green leading edge cars, but drivers that want to be the first to get behind the wheel of the new electric Mini, The Mini E, will be able to apply for them later this year.

So says Dr Shaun Savage, a research fellow the Sustainable Vehicle Engineering Centre at Oxford Brookes University.

The car sounds great. Seamless acceleration to 62mph in 8.5s, a top speed of 95mph and a running cost of mere pence per mile. The cars have a range of 100 to 156miles - depending on how you drive it of course – and, according to Savage, can be fully recharged in just a couple of hours from any domestic socket.

But the downside is that there will initially only be 40 of them in the UK. Users, who will have to live in the South East, will have their usage and driving behaviour logged and downloaded. Oh, and they won't be free either.

The idea is to find out how people are going to get along with electric cars in a provincial environment, whether for business or private use. Scientists from the Sustainable Vehicle Engineering Centre will analyse the electronic data and psychologists from the School of Social Sciences and Law will choose the drivers through the online application process and monitor their day to day experiences.

The need to gain an understanding of electric vehicle use has been made more imperative by this morning's news. The rhetoric coming out of the G8 summit is that urgent action is needed to tackle climate change, with pledges to cut 80% of CO2 emissions by 2050 from all the leaders from the leading industrial countries. The result would mean burning virtually no fossil fuels, with electricity primarily being generated from renewable and nuclear sources.

The cars will be made in BMW's Oxford production facility and converted in Germany.

Author
Tom Shelley

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