Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I get a visit from the MINI-E engineering team

I came to work on Sunday and left for a while, leaving #250 parked right by the front door of the restaurant. When I returned, one of my waitresses said there was a table of guys that were looking at my MINI-E parked outside and when they were seated they asked to speak to the owner. So I walked over and proudly told them "I own the MINI-E and yes it's 100% electric, not a hybrid" I said this because it's very common for a customer to ask about the car, and they almost always assume it's some kind of plug in hybrid.

Well, I was unaware of who I was speaking to. In fact, I might as well have been explaining how to make bolognese sauce to Emeril. The gentleman second to the left in the photo above is Anton Lesnicar, chief engineer for the MINI-E and the other four are all members of the engineering team at BMW. So after they wiped their smirks off their faces and said "yeah, we kinda know what it is, we designed it" I then knew what I was dealing with.

They told me they wanted to meet the pioneer with the most experience driving the car(referring to the 27,000 miles I've logged in the car so far) as well as get some of the great pizza we serve. So they ordered some pizza and I sat down to talk EV with them. We touched on subjects from the cost to be in the program, to the lack of a thermal management system, to future BMW EV's namely the ActiveE and the Mega City. They also told me they are aware of, and visit this blog occasionally.

I had a great time picking their brains and I think they liked the feedback that they got from me. I gave Anton a copy of my trip logs that details every mile I've driven in the car so far which I'm sure he will go over thoroughly. I then asked them to stand in front of #250 charging up on the side of Nauna's and they gladly obliged.

Thanks for stopping by guys, I hope to see you again sometime!


  1. I'm sure the BMW people read this and the other mini e blogs. They are a great resource of information for them. If it's means anything to you, I like this blog the most. You post frequently and express your adventures very eloquently.

  2. That was nice of them to stop by.

  3. Yes it was Donna. As it is nice that you visit this blog from time to time!
    For those that don't know, Donna is a managing editor over at Edmunds InsideLine. You can read her articles/posts at: http://blogs.insideline.com/roadtests/

  4. Hi Tom,

    I read about you and your Mini in the german online journal spiegel.de (http://www.spiegel.de/auto/aktuell/0,1518,687871,00.html) and the article gave me hope, because I think it is the time for the Mini-E.

    I installed last year a solar array of 10kwp at my roof and I hope, if BMW does the right thing, I can charge a Mini like yours soon.

    Best regards from Germany,


  5. I guess they wanted to see how it is you drive the car so many miles! 27,000 miles in ten months in a car that has a 100 mile range? You are really testing the limits for BMW. I hope they are giving you something for this

  6. BMW make the e-cars now, we will buy lots of them!

  7. I guess engineers from Germany are only allowed to dress in blue?

  8. Funny Billy. I noticed that myself. Byrne, no nothing yet I'm still paying for the car, but who knows? I've have been doing a lot of PR work for them so far...

  9. did they anything to you about their current project(s)? Are they e.g. designing the 2011-cars right now?

  10. Frank,
    We talked about future cars but they really couldn't tell me anything that isn't already out there on the internet.
    BMW is currently making about 700 ActiveE electric cars that will be used in a 2 year lease program much like the MINI-E. Then, the plan is to make and sell a small BMW under the Mega City line. It is supposed to be a 4 seat hatchback and be released in late 2013/early 2014. You can find information about both of these vehicles on the internet. Unfortunately, it looks we have about 3 years before we can buy an electric BMW.