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MINI E Talk (2010) Discussion of the electric, zero-emissions field trial MINI. Only 500 to be leased by MINIUSA!

MINI E - anyone notified yet?

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  #26  
Old 02-04-2009, 10:04 PM
lunchbox lunchbox is offline
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IMO the $850/mo cost is to attract lessees that will potentially offer better feedback and enthusiasm for the project than just those looking for a vehicle that's cheap to drive. Clearly, the tax break will offset a good portion of the cost of the MINI E for those that qualify for it. Those who take the time to research as much as they could about ownership would, to me, also be the same people who would take the time to offer the best feedback they could and make better subjects.

In my case, I'm looking at it as a fun and interesting experience. I've owned more than twenty cars in the 15 years I've been driving and only one was bought for economy. My fleet now consists of two V8 Mustangs, a minivan, and a Wrangler. They are hardly fuel misers. I've wanted a MINI since I first got wind of the modern version in the works about nine or ten years ago, but have yet to pull the trigger on purchasing one. I've been close, going so far as building my MINI with a MA on more than one occasion, but have not gone to the point of no return. This time I believe I will.

I've gone over the credit about as far as I feel I need to to understand it to my satisfaction. The MINI E will qualify for the full $7,500 credit. While the forms for the credit are not available now as it is a new-for-2009 item, it will most likely parallel the Electric Vehicle Credit (Form 8910) that expired in 2007 and the current Alternative Motor Vehicle Credit (Form 8834) in the manner in which eligibility is calculated. This will make the credit subject to being lessened or eliminated depending on the extent that owners are affected by the AMT.

As my returns are generally the same year to year, tomorrow I am going to re-run my return through my tax program as if I had the $7500 credit ( I think I can do this by entering 3 vehicles for the max $2500 on each on Form 8910). If it works like I think it should, I'll have an idea as to just how much of a credit I can expect to get to offset the lease cost. While that will have some bearing as to whether I choose to accept the lease or not, I don't know to what extent it will. That will be more of an emotional decision, but knowing the numbers beforehand will allow me to go with my gut at that moment.
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  #27  
Old 02-05-2009, 07:09 AM
lhoboy lhoboy is offline
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Originally Posted by carsncars View Post
Hopefully we'll see the MINI-E or some incarnation of it go mainstream one day.
+1
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  #28  
Old 02-05-2009, 07:41 AM
lunchbox lunchbox is offline
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As my returns are generally the same year to year, tomorrow I am going to re-run my return through my tax program as if I had the $7500 credit ( I think I can do this by entering 3 vehicles for the max $2500 on each on Form 8910). If it works like I think it should, I'll have an idea as to just how much of a credit I can expect to get to offset the lease cost. While that will have some bearing as to whether I choose to accept the lease or not, I don't know to what extent it will. That will be more of an emotional decision, but knowing the numbers beforehand will allow me to go with my gut at that moment.
Well, I did this when I got home this morning and did not get the results I had hoped for. I'm so close to the AMT as it is, that I would only qualify for an $819 credit had it been in tax year 2008. Since my returns are so consistent, I couldn't expect to get much different results for TY2009. All in, I'd be right around $1,000 a month to own the car. I'll have to give this some thought as a fun opportunity may not be worth that cost.

Hmmm...

I'd advise anyone that is relying on the credit to make the MINI E affordable to run a hypothetical return to have a truer expectation of the value of the credit in their own case.
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  #29  
Old 02-05-2009, 07:54 AM
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I'd advise anyone that is relying on the credit to make the MINI E affordable to run a hypothetical return to have a truer expectation of the value of the credit in their own case.
Definitely good advice!

I had made my decision to pursue the lease without regard to qualifying for the credit, so any money back from the credit would be a nice bonus.
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  #30  
Old 02-05-2009, 08:07 AM
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If there's anyone in the NY/NJ area that ends up with one of these, please join us over at NEMINI (local forum for the northeast states) We'd love to get one of these to show up at one of our events. I realize that a long run is out of the question, but we do a bunch of local meet/greet/eat things...

I would have applied in a second but with a kid in college right now, the $850 was just pushing the budget too far. My wife's commute of about 35 miles each way would be perfect for this. And given that her employer is a high-tech company, they might have even setup a charging station for her at the office. Maybe we can get in on "round 2"...
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  #31  
Old 02-05-2009, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by soareyes View Post
Yes, the lease is high (actually $850/mo ) but hopefully the electric vehicle tax credit will offset a lot of it. Still have to wait till 2010 to get the credit though.
850 month ?

Does that comes with 3 years of FREE ELectricity ?
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  #32  
Old 02-05-2009, 08:12 AM
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The March 2009 issue of Road & Track has "mini" review of the Mini-E as part of a comparison with six other E-cars. One thing that concerned the reviewer was the immediate deceleration when the foot was lifted from the accelerator. The reviewer said,

"Coming off the accelerator for the first time after heavy acceleration will catch you by surprise as the regen braking is as aggressive as the AC Propulsion eBox in its Max setting. It feels as if you are perpetually driving in 1st gear (you are), or that you've come off the gas and have gone straight to partial braking".

Apparently this is not as much of an issue with the other E-cars tested. I could see this "auto-braking" effect as being annoying (at least at first). I hope real Mini-E owners chime in on this aspect of the car (when they roll them out). Hopefully it's overblown by the reviewer, or at least easy to get used to. Who knows, maybe it's even a good thing.

John
I just got this issue and read the comparison. It's interesting that the AC Propulsion eBox allows the driver to control the aggressiveness of the regenerative braking with a slider switch on the dash, from virtually none to maximum. Plus it looks like the eBox uses exactly the same 200 hp motor and 35 kwh battery pack that is used in the Mini e (which is supplied by AC Propulsion, so that makes sense). The eBox sells for $67,000 which gives some perspective on the $850/mo lease rate for the Mini e.

With the aggressive regenerative braking in the Mini e, I wonder if the brake lights are turned on even without the driver touching the brakes? I bet they do, just to keep inattentive drivers behind you from running into the back of you.
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  #33  
Old 02-05-2009, 09:29 AM
lhoboy lhoboy is offline
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200 Horses!! and no transmission loss.

That's across the entire rpm spectrum!! That beast should be capable of a sub 5 second run to 60 unless they added a bunch of weight.

I might have to reconsider the value proposition. $850/month might be well worth it.
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  #34  
Old 02-05-2009, 09:31 AM
carsncars carsncars is offline
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Originally Posted by lhoboy View Post
200 Horses!!

That's across the entire rpm spectrum!! That beast should be capable of a sub 5 second run to 60 unless they added a bunch of weight.

I might have to reconsider the value proposition. $850/month might be well worth it.
You mean like.... battery packs? I think I saw a figure of 8.5 seconds 0-100 km/h.
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  #35  
Old 02-05-2009, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by lhoboy View Post
200 Horses!! and no transmission loss.

That's across the entire rpm spectrum!! That beast should be capable of a sub 5 second run to 60 unless they added a bunch of weight.
I believe that with electric motors, it's the torque that's relatively constant throughout the RPM range, not the horsepower. The horsepower would still obey the old HP = (Torque X RPM)/5252 relationship, so the power would increase linearly with increasing motor RPM.

I don't know what the max motor RPM is for the MINI E, but it's possible that the electric motor torque could be quite a bit lower than the peak torque on a gas-powered MCS, and that the MINI E is only reaching 200 HP by virtue of higher motor speeds compared to the max engine speed in an MCS.

That, coupled with the extra weight from the batteries, is probably why MINI is only claiming 0-60 times in the eight-second range.
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  #36  
Old 02-05-2009, 10:23 AM
lhoboy lhoboy is offline
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Originally Posted by ScottRiqui View Post
I believe that with electric motors, it's the torque that's relatively constant throughout the RPM range, not the horsepower. .
Sadly, you are correct.
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Originally Posted by ScottRiqui View Post
That, coupled with the extra weight from the batteries, is probably why MINI is only claiming 0-60 times in the eight-second range.
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  #37  
Old 02-05-2009, 10:36 AM
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Well, looking into it more, it looks like it is the extra weight from the batteries (about 600 pounds) that's mostly to blame. The torque from the electric motor is 162 lbf-ft, which is almost exactly the same as the MCS.

Also, the MINI E motor has a redline of 12,500 RPM. That would indicate a maximum possible horsepower of 385 HP, so I'm assuming the electric motor torque actually drops off some at the higher RPM ranges, and that's why the max HP is only 204 HP.

Here's a .PDF that lists more information about the MINI E than I've ever seen collected in one place. I apologize if it's already found its way onto NAM, but I'm sure there are at least a few people that haven't seen it, and it's got lots of good information.
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  #38  
Old 02-05-2009, 10:45 AM
soareyes soareyes is offline
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It is interesting that the weight distribution is very close to 50/50 front/rear on the Mini E due to the batteries in the back. The standard Mini S is 61/39 front/rear.

Also it looks like the Mini E is governed to 95 mph.
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  #39  
Old 02-06-2009, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by lunchbox View Post
Well, I did this when I got home this morning and did not get the results I had hoped for. I'm so close to the AMT as it is, that I would only qualify for an $819 credit had it been in tax year 2008. Since my returns are so consistent, I couldn't expect to get much different results for TY2009. All in, I'd be right around $1,000 a month to own the car. I'll have to give this some thought as a fun opportunity may not be worth that cost.

Hmmm...

I'd advise anyone that is relying on the credit to make the MINI E affordable to run a hypothetical return to have a truer expectation of the value of the credit in their own case.
Thanks for your info here. I'll run through my TurboTax for 2008 and see what I end up getting back. I don't think I'm near the AMT. Also, I sent an email off to the dealer who called me to see if they had further information on the tax credit as the MINI-e is so new, Google doesn't help that much. I'll let everyone know what I hear back.

I'm still on the fence, but $1000/month vs. $320/month I pay now is a tough proposition.

EDIT: Everywhere I look, it seems you have to PURCHASE the car, not LEASE. There may be no credit whatsoever. Anyone have previous experience with leases and getting the tax credit?

Last edited by esscha; 02-06-2009 at 07:08 AM.
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  #40  
Old 02-06-2009, 08:59 AM
lunchbox lunchbox is offline
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http://www.lieaa.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&p=21

There's a link here to the actual law. Info on the credit starts on page 190. Leases are eligible for the credit. You will not find the actual form to claim the credit as it's new for the 2009 tax year. However, it should read just like the existing alternative vehicle credit forms and be affected should you hit the AMT.
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  #41  
Old 02-06-2009, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by lunchbox View Post
http://www.lieaa.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&p=21

There's a link here to the actual law. Info on the credit starts on page 190. Leases are eligible for the credit. You will not find the actual form to claim the credit as it's new for the 2009 tax year. However, it should read just like the existing alternative vehicle credit forms and be affected should you hit the AMT.
Thanks! I didn't think to look in the bill itself. Looks like $7500 max for the usual electric vehicles. Are people making electric vehicles with gross vehicle weights over 10,000 lbs?
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  #42  
Old 02-09-2009, 04:57 PM
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Hi. From the instructions on Form 8910, it looks like only purchased vehicles qualify. The instructions also say: "If the vehicle is leased, only the lessor and not the lessee, is entitled to the credit." This does not bode well for getting this credit. Has anyone called their local MINI dealer to check and see if MINI will help with getting the tax credits for the lessees?

That said, the IRS hasn't provided any guidance on this tax credit yet. Maybe the IRS will determine this tax credit is analogous to the old Qualified Electric Vehicle Credit (Form 8834), or the tax credit that was available for the EV1.

If the IRS determines otherwise, then this current $7,500 tax credit isn't really helpful to anyone thinking of leasing a MINI E. You and I can't use the tax credit because we're only leasing it. And the local dealers can't benefit, because they're not buying the vehicle either since they have to return it to the laboratories for review and experimenting.

This doesn't seem logical. Maybe someone should contact the congresspeople who wrote the law to find out what their intent was. I assume that they[SIZE=3][FONT=Futura Lt BT] understand that the technology is changing so fast that many of these early vehicles--much like the EV1--will only be for lease. They want to make sure these vehicles get out on the roads ASAP and want to make sure that real people can lease them and not have only the car companies benefit.[/FONT][/SIZE]
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  #43  
Old 02-09-2009, 05:35 PM
soareyes soareyes is offline
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From the bill, starting on page 193, it states:

NEW QUALIFIED PLUG-IN ELECTRIC DRIVE MOTOR VEHICLE.—For purposes of this section, the term ‘new qualified plug-in electric drive motor vehicle’ means a motor vehicle....the original use of which commences with the taxpayer, which is acquired for use or lease by the taxpayer and not for resale, and which is made by a manufacturer.

Hopefully this means the end user gets the credit, even if leased. I guess we won't know for sure until the instructions for taking the credit are written.

I did ask the MA in charge of applications for the Mini E at the dealership if he knew anything about the credit, and he didn't.
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  #44  
Old 02-10-2009, 07:35 AM
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Looks like issues with the tax credits or high lease payments did not prevent MINIUSA from getting enough applicants:

http://www.autoweek.com/article/2009...NEWS/902099993
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  #45  
Old 02-10-2009, 08:24 AM
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Yes, I was actually surprised that there were only 1800 applicants. There were rumors of 14,000 to 25,000 applicants at one time, but that may have been just the number of people requesting an application. The whittling down to 1000 jives with what my dealership told me, as they have 50 applicants for 25 cars.
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  #46  
Old 02-11-2009, 03:25 PM
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Unfortunately, the instructions that govern the current alternative motor vehicle credit specifically say that a person who leases a vehicle is not entitled to the credit (even if s/he is the end user). Refer to the second page, second column, for the dreaded language that excludes lessees:
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8910.pdf

The IRS is likely going to say that the language of the law for the current alternative motor vehicle credit (Public Law 109-58) and the language of the law for the plug-in motor vehicle credit (Public Law 110-343) are identical.

I think the only (very slim) hope is that:

(1) MINI allows the lessees--rather than the lessor (the dealership)--to take the credit in order to offset some of the huge costs of an $850/month lease

(2) people e-mail the IRS to get some guidance on this issue and the IRS actually comes out with guidance in a timely manner (i.e., before you have to sign the $850/mo. lease). Here's where you can e-mail the IRS to ask for guidance on this issue. They will respond to you via e-mail. http://www.irs.gov/help/page/0,,id=120294,00.html

Fingers crossed that it works out....
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  #47  
Old 02-11-2009, 04:21 PM
soareyes soareyes is offline
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Thanks BGBG, I just emailed the question to the IRS and will report back if I get an answer.
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  #48  
Old 02-12-2009, 11:39 AM
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I also sent a question into the IRS about it, so I'll let everyone know what/if I hear back from the IRS. (The IRS is pretty slow at responding--no surprise!--so it may take a while to hear back from them.)

I hope they don't, but if the IRS says "no go" to the tax credit and that the MINI dealers can use it, maybe people who actually get to lease a MINI E should not lease it until their dealership allows the lessee to take the credit. Or at least split the benefit of the credit.

Otherwise, the only feedback MINI will get is from lessees who can easily afford $850/mo. which doesn't seem like a representative cross section of who would likely lease/buy an electric MINI in the future.
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  #49  
Old 02-12-2009, 12:00 PM
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I can't imagine getting the call and turning it down. Yes the price can be steep but to be a part of this would be so great. No luck for us in Canada for MINI-Es, likely due to the severe cold we sometimes get. I'd snap one up in a heartbeat.
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Old 02-14-2009, 09:25 AM
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I got the call...completed the finance application....with the assumption that tax credit would make this reasonable. As I read more about details of credit, I just don't think it would apply. And it current climate, could not justify (in my own head) that $$ amount per month. Would have been really great, but notified dealer that I wanted to withdraw my application. So, no Mini-E for me.
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