The cars will be part of New York's "Street Condition Observation Unit" or SCOUT (which should really be SCOU, but we're just being pedantic) and used to hunt for taxi-swallowing potholes or the scourge of the city — graffiti. They'll be part of a one year program to beat the ever-loving crap out of the electric MINI's to see how they do in harsh, real-world situations. The conditions in New York will be matched against testing and conditions in Los Angeles, Berlin, and London and will serve to provide BMW's valuable data on the cars, and aid in plans to take over the world with incredibly expensive and almost useful compact cars.
Details on the program below:
New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg Announces Use of MINI E Electric Cars provided by BMW Group to City of New York in State of the City Speech
The MINI E is a zero-emissions fully electric car
New York, NY – January 15, 2009, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced in his State-of-the-City speech that BMW Group will loan a fleet of 10 MINI E electric zero-emissions cars to the City of New York. These vehicles will be used in its Street Condition Observation Unit, known as SCOUT, and will be among the 500 MINI Es the BMW Group is producing as part of a one-year pilot field study to determine the viability of electric vehicles in real life use. The MINI Es will be used by SCOUT inspectors who drive New York City's streets in search of street conditions, such as potholes and graffiti. The vehicles are scheduled to begin arriving in April.
The MINI E is the first product of BMW's Project i, a program designed to research and develop transportation strategies and new types of vehicles specifically to meet the needs of the world's growing mega-cities, of which New York is one.
"We are delighted to work with New York City in developing this new form of sustainable transportation," said Jim McDowell, Vice President of MINI USA. "Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC initiative has demonstrated a keen understanding of the importance of sustainability and we fully share the same vision and enthusiasm for developing new ideas, technologies and forms of transportation to make it a reality. This MINI E zero-emission vehicle is only our company's first step."
The MINI E can travel more than 150 miles on a single charge and provides the agility and handling of a MINI Cooper. It is powered by a 150 kilowatt electric motor with the equivalent of 201 hp. The energy supply comes from a high-performance rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The vehicle, which debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November, can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 8.5 seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of 95 mph. MINI will install a special wall box into each MINI E customer's garage that can fully recharge a completely drained battery in just two-and-a-half hours.
The 500 MINI Es will be deployed in New York and New Jersey and Los Angeles metropolitan areas with additional vehicles being tested in Berlin, Germany and London, England. Of the 500 U.S. vehicles, 450 will be leased to customers that applied online at MINIUSA.com to be part of the one-year field study. The others will be dedicated to full-time extensive and intense daily use in select fleets, such as the NYC SCOUT fleet. Those selected will be asked to provide ongoing real world use feedback to BMW on their experience with the zero-emission electric cars. More than twice the number of people applied as there are cars available in the U.S.
BMW has also arranged to provide MINI Es to the city of Los Angeles to test the MINI E in conditions different from those in New York City.
In New York City, the MINI Es will serve as SCOUT vehicles and be deployed across the five boroughs beginning this spring for one year. The vehicle operators help identify problems on New York City streets and ascertain whether complaints logged into the City's 311 phone system are being adequately addressed. SCOUT vehicles log nearly 100 miles per day.