A fleet of 500 electrically-powered MINIs is to go on test with companies in America as part of the BMW Group’s plans to cut fuel consumption and emissions.
The cars will run on a one-year lease with the option to extend the contract, while the monthly lease rate will include all necessary maintenance and the replacement of wearing parts.
At the end of the trial the cars will be shipped back to BMW where they will be assessed to check their viability in day-to-day running.
BMW Group, which won the environmental title at this year’s Fleet News Awards, aims to begin series production of all-electric vehicles in the next few years.
The zero-emission MINI E is based on the standard model but an electric motor is used instead of a conventional internal combustion engine.
The rear seats make way for a lithium-ion battery.
As a result, the MINI E can accelerate from 0-62mph in eight seconds and reach a top speed of 95mph.
The battery unit can be recharged from a home power supply, and offers up to 150 miles range on a single recharge.
As well as offering zero-emission driving, the electric motor also regenerates power when the driver lifts off the throttle.
This energy is transferred into braking force.
BMW Group is pursuing several different avenues when it comes to powering future models.
A fleet of 100 Hydrogen 7s, which run on hydrogen fuel, are still in service with high-profile organisations.
Hydrogen fuel is BMW’s long-term goal as an alternative to petrol or diesel, though it is also pursuing hybrid technology.
But the next step will be version two of EfficientDynamics, the term for a range of fuel-saving measures.
The second-generation technology will spread to automatic models, and six-cylinder-engined vehicles.