Monday, January 11, 2010

MINI-E Program Extended, Will Transition To The ActiveE!

While the trial lease participants haven't yet been notified, it appears as though BMW has announced what we all expected, they are going to extend the MINI-E leases beyond the one year we all agreed to. How many of the existing participants agree to continue will depend greatly on how much the monthly payment will be. We are currently on the hook for $850.00 per month which does include all maintenance and collision and comprehensive insurance. I think most of us agreed to be in this program because we wanted to be part of something that we believe in, not because we think the car is worth an $850 per month lease payment. I know that's way I got involved. I wanted to offer my help and support in the hope that I could help prove that there is a market and demand for electric vehicles. That many people are sick of polluting the air we breath and paying outrageous amounts of money for gasoline while we send billions of dollars for imported oil to radical regimes that are no friend to the US.

I would definitely like to continue and extend my lease for another year, provided the second year lease payments are much lower than $850. I do think BMW will be reasonable here since it is in their best interest to keep many of the same participants involved. We all have installed and inspected wall chargers and that was probably the biggest hurdle for BMW in getting this program off the ground. (Follow this link to read Richard Steinberg's MINI-E program overview.) To now remove all the chargers and install them in new locations just makes no sense at all as the cost would be about $2,500 per participant. Removing that cost alone should knock $200.00 off the monthly payment. I'm going to go out and say I expect the lease offer for the second year to be $450 to $500 per month. I think if the cost is in that range most of the participants will re-up and be happy about it.

Finally, the real carrot in continuing the lease is that BMW is planning on offering a similar lease program for the ActiveE and it's scheduled to begin mid 2011 which is when our lease extensions will end and they are planning on offering us the option to transition into an ActiveE. Now that's what we all have been waiting to hear. The only question I have is "Why another trail lease?" How much data and research do they need. Other auto manufacturers have already announced that they will sell EV's and extended range plug in hybrids in the near future. BMW needs to get out there and announce that they will be selling these cars soon, not only testing them. I believe we will hear a similar announcement soon because I do believe they are committed to selling an EV soon, and that they are just waiting for the right time to announce it. For now we'll have to live in the "research" stage. I'm up for it, the only question is: can I transfer my license plates to the ActiveE?

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