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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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Old 01-28-2009, 01:52 PM
lunchbox lunchbox is offline
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MINI E - anyone notified yet?

I got a call from my dealer today asking if I was still interested leasing the Mini E for a year. I had filled out the online application several months ago.

Anyone else hear anything, or know of anyone who was contacted or selected for the program?

Charlie
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Old 01-28-2009, 02:22 PM
soareyes soareyes is offline
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Same here, and they asked me to come in and fill out another application. I've got an appointment Saturday.

A quick web search turned up others who got the call or an email from their local dealer saying they passed the first elimination, and the application concerns financial information.

Stan
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Old 01-28-2009, 02:56 PM
MoxieMini MoxieMini is offline
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God I'm so jealous of you guys. I would love to pilot test one of those!
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Old 01-28-2009, 02:57 PM
lunchbox lunchbox is offline
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Thanks, Stan.

They sent me a finance/credit application, which I completed and returned.

I guess the next step is the electrical inspection. Should be an interesting process.

Good luck to you.
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Old 01-28-2009, 05:25 PM
soareyes soareyes is offline
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Yes, I'm a little worried about the electrical inspection (if I get that far) as my house is about 35 years old. The electrical does come into the house along my garage wall, so hopefully any needed upgrades will be easy.

Good luck to you too!

Stan
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Old 01-28-2009, 05:43 PM
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Wish I lived on the east/west coast to try one too.

Last edited by NJP; 01-28-2009 at 05:49 PM.
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Old 01-28-2009, 05:57 PM
dashiel dashiel is offline
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too late for me. i'm so busy with work and a home remodel and my '06 mini lease finishing up. i couldn't wait any longer and picked up an '09 on saturday*. not too disappointed though - the $800 monthly charge was at little intense.


*it's already in the shop :(
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Old 01-28-2009, 06:22 PM
soareyes soareyes is offline
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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.
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Old 01-28-2009, 06:57 PM
Flyinace2000 Flyinace2000 is offline
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The 850 is not as bad as it sounds. figure the lease payment for a high end mini would be about $450/month. I fill up about 2.5 times a month at most. So that can be about $53 in gas (assuming $25 fillup). If i recall this inculdes auto insurance. So that would be $110/month (for me 24 year old male). That is $613. So the privilege of driving a Mini E is $237. Not horrible.

I also for got to factor in the cost of electricity.
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Old 01-28-2009, 07:03 PM
desertmini21 desertmini21 is offline
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Good luck lunchbox and soareyes. Keep us posted.

And thank you for trying these MINIs out. You will be giving valuable data to MINI/BMW.
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Old 01-31-2009, 04:39 PM
soareyes soareyes is offline
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Good luck lunchbox and soareyes. Keep us posted.
Thanks!

Well here is the latest. I went in to my dealer (S. California) today and filled out the financial paperwork. Apparently two salespeople at each dealership are trained to handle the Mini E paperwork and deliveries. This dealership was alloted 25 Mini E's and they have approximately 50 applications given to them by Mini that have been screened from the thousands who applied. My MA didn't know the final count of total applications, but I've seen numbers from 12,000 to 25,000. Anyway, it looks like I have about a 50% chance of being chosen from here, depending on the credit check and home electrical inspection.

At this dealership, deliveries will probably start near the end of February with the final car delivered by June, so they are spread out a little bit. The salespeople were able to drive one several weeks ago and the car has plenty of power, handles like a Mini, but has a completely different sound from the electric motor than what they are use to.

Well, good luck to any other applicants (but not more than me please )

Stan
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Old 01-31-2009, 06:08 PM
carsncars carsncars is offline
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MINI-E = WALL-E

There was a Mini that'd been hit by the snowplow about a month ago down my street (not the snowplow's fault... MINI's owners didn't clear the snow off it so it was almost impossible to discern). But seeing the mangled front 3/4 made me think of the scene where WALL-E's all mangled (in the Axiom's waste compacting area). :( So sad...

Yeah... if anyone knows what I'm talking about. :P
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Old 02-01-2009, 12:44 PM
DangerMan DangerMan is offline
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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
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Old 02-04-2009, 12:52 PM
lunchbox lunchbox is offline
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Step one was the credit/financial application. Then comes insurance. You need to have a retainer saying you are able to qualify for insurance for the vehicle. My insurance carrier (geico) wouldn't give a blanket statement guarantying coverage without further information (vin, etc.), but Mini has set up a dedicated line through liberty mutual (who is handling the collision coverage) to get this approval. Their rates are not much different from what I pay through my carrier at first glance.

I'm told that the next step will be the Utility/electrical inspection. For that, I'll have to upgrade to 200amp service and wire in a sub-panel in the garage to meet the needs of the charging station. That will be the biggest pain, but I planned on a bigger panel and putting in a sub in the garage for my planned bigger compressor and a welder. I'll just hold off on those toys for a year and rewire the box for circiuts for those when the Mini is no longer in the garage next year (assuming I get the car.) This could be expensive, but my best friend happens to be a licensed electrician, so it won't cost much beyond materials, a nice gift, and an owed favor.

I'll keep the thread alive with updates. I don't want to jinx myself, but it's looking good so far. The one item I'm worried about is the tax credit. It'll offset a good portion of the cost of ownership, but I want to make certain that it won't push me in to the AMT. If it does that and I don't reap the benefit of the credit, it may alter my thinking regarding the Mini E. More research is in order.
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Old 02-04-2009, 01:31 PM
soareyes soareyes is offline
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Thanks for the update, lunchbox. I had the same problem with my insurance carrier (USAA). They really didn't want to promise much without a VIN.

I'm working with Mini of Monrovia here in S. California. So, are we competing for the same car?
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Old 02-04-2009, 01:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lunchbox View Post
Step one was the credit/financial application. Then comes insurance. You need to have a retainer saying you are able to qualify for insurance for the vehicle. My insurance carrier (geico) wouldn't give a blanket statement guarantying coverage without further information (vin, etc.), but Mini has set up a dedicated line through liberty mutual (who is handling the collision coverage) to get this approval. Their rates are not much different from what I pay through my carrier at first glance.

I'm told that the next step will be the Utility/electrical inspection. For that, I'll have to upgrade to 200amp service and wire in a sub-panel in the garage to meet the needs of the charging station. That will be the biggest pain, but I planned on a bigger panel and putting in a sub in the garage for my planned bigger compressor and a welder. I'll just hold off on those toys for a year and rewire the box for circiuts for those when the Mini is no longer in the garage next year (assuming I get the car.) This could be expensive, but my best friend happens to be a licensed electrician, so it won't cost much beyond materials, a nice gift, and an owed favor.

I'll keep the thread alive with updates. I don't want to jinx myself, but it's looking good so far. The one item I'm worried about is the tax credit. It'll offset a good portion of the cost of ownership, but I want to make certain that it won't push me in to the AMT. If it does that and I don't reap the benefit of the credit, it may alter my thinking regarding the Mini E. More research is in order.
I believe I heard on the news a few days ago that the AMT (tax) would be suspended for now. Here is what the bill says...

[FONT=FrutigerNextPro-Light][SIZE=2]
The alternative minimum tax rules provide that a taxpayer’s NOL deduction cannot reduce the taxpayer’s alternative
minimum taxable income by more than 90 percent of the alternative minimum taxable income. Under the approved bill, this
90 percent limitation is suspended for carrybacks of losses from taxable years ending in 2008 or 2009 and carryovers of
losses to those taxable years. This rule would apply to taxable years beginning in 2008 or 2009 if the taxpayer elects the
extended carryback for those years.
How is that for making one even more confused?
[/SIZE][/FONT]

Last edited by NJP; 02-04-2009 at 01:40 PM. Reason: more info
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Old 02-04-2009, 01:48 PM
lunchbox lunchbox is offline
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Soareyes - I'm in NY and working with Habberstad, so I'm no threat to you securing a lease. I'm rooting for you!

NJP - I used to be a tax accountant, so it makes sense. I just need to update myself on the current code. Thanks for the info on the suspension. I hope it works out.
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Old 02-04-2009, 01:48 PM
soareyes soareyes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJP View Post
I believe I heard on the news a few days ago that the AMT (tax) would be suspended for now. Here is what the bill says...


[FONT=FrutigerNextPro-Light][SIZE=2]
The alternative minimum tax rules provide that a taxpayer’s NOL deduction cannot reduce the taxpayer’s alternative[/FONT][/SIZE]

[SIZE=2][FONT=FrutigerNextPro-Light]minimum taxable income by more than 90 percent of the alternative minimum taxable income. Under the approved bill, this[/FONT][/SIZE]
[SIZE=2][FONT=FrutigerNextPro-Light]90 percent limitation is suspended for carrybacks of losses from taxable years ending in 2008 or 2009 and carryovers of[/FONT][/SIZE]

[SIZE=2][FONT=FrutigerNextPro-Light]losses to those taxable years. This rule would apply to taxable years beginning in 2008 or 2009 if the taxpayer elects the
[/FONT][/SIZE]
[SIZE=2][FONT=FrutigerNextPro-Light]extended carryback for those years.[/FONT][/SIZE]
[SIZE=2][FONT=FrutigerNextPro-Light]How is that for making one even more confused?[/FONT][/SIZE]
[SIZE=2][FONT=FrutigerNextPro-Light][/SIZE][/FONT]
Thanks for looking that up, but I admit I don't understand a word of it! Hopefully good news though.
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  #19  
Old 02-04-2009, 01:51 PM
soareyes soareyes is offline
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Originally Posted by lunchbox View Post
Soareyes - I'm in NY and working with Habberstad, so I'm no threat to you securing a lease. I'm rooting for you!
Thanks, same to you!

Any guesstimate on what the electrical modifications that you mentioned would cost if you had to pay full price?
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Old 02-04-2009, 05:06 PM
esscha esscha is offline
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I got called yesterday, but I'm not sure if I can afford it right now.
With my current car paid off, the $850/month is daunting ($10,200 for the year!). I'm also trying to save for my wedding.

The dealer told me I have a week or so to decide to go for the second step (credit check). I'm in NJ (near the Morristown Mini dealer).
I really wish this wasn't such a hard decision.

My math and assumptions....someone correct me if I'm wrong.
My commute is exactly 100 miles daily (clocked today) with 20 working days a month. I'm ignoring weekend driving for now.
That's basically the full charge of the Mini-E
I also checked my electric bill and it's $0.12/kWH

So, 30 kWH each charge x $0.12/kWH = $3.60 per day or $72/month for electricity

I get about 22 mpg with my car (I know I know) so that's about 91 gallons/month ((100/day x 20 days) / 22 mpg)
Even though I know it's low, I'll use a conservative $1.75/gallon = $160/month for gas

My gas calculation made it $160/month, so I'd save about $88/month or $1056/year.

In summary....
Mini-E
Lease/Maintenance: $850/month x 12 = $10,200/year
Electricity: $72/month x 12 = $864/year
Insurance: TBD, but could be ~$600/year + alternative insurance which I would drop down for a weekend-only instead of commuting ($800?).
Mini-E ends up being about $1048/month

Current Car
Lease/Loan/Cost: $0/month + $800 Maintenance/year = $800/year
Insurance: $1103/year
Gas = $160/month x 12 months = $1920/year
Current car ends up being $319/month

That's about $730/month difference or an extra $8760/year. Even if I subtract out my $1056/year savings on gas, I end up with $7704/year. Ouch.
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Old 02-04-2009, 07:40 PM
soareyes soareyes is offline
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esscha, the one thing I don't see in your calculations is the potential of a $7500 tax credit for plug-in vehicles that was in the big economic stimulus bill passed last fall. The tax credit starts with a base of $2500 plus an additional $417 per kwh for batteries greater than 4 kwh. The Mini E battery is 35 kwh so it might qualify for the full $7500 dollars. Of course you can't get the credit till you file your 2009 tax return, but it might offset a lot of the cost of the lease. Google "$7500 electric car tax credit" and you can find lots of information. I'm definitely not a tax expert so I can't say for certain that leasing the Mini E will qualify you for the credit, but it looks promising.

edit - as lunchbox mentioned several posts above this, there is a question of the AMT. Many buyers of the Prius and other hybrids didn't get the tax credit they expected because of the Alternative Minimum Tax. All very confusing!

Last edited by soareyes; 02-04-2009 at 07:54 PM.
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Old 02-04-2009, 07:57 PM
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ScottRiqui ScottRiqui is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DangerMan View Post
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
It may be that MINI had to make very aggressive use of regenerative braking in order to get 100+ miles of range out of a single charge. If their target range were shorter (like the 40 miles per charge that other models are aiming for), they could probably afford to be more gentle with the regenerative braking, causing less of an abrupt slowdown when you lift the throttle.

I remember comparing the "kWh per mile" electrical requirements for the MINI E to the capacity of the battery and realizing that they could only achieve the kind of range they're advertising if they recover a LOT of the spent energy via regenerative braking.
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:03 PM
carsncars carsncars is offline
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It may be that MINI had to make very aggressive use of regenerative braking in order to get 100+ miles of range out of a single charge. If their target range were shorter (like the 40 miles per charge that other models are aiming for), they could probably afford to be more gentle with the regenerative braking, causing less of an abrupt slowdown when you lift the throttle.

I remember comparing the "kWh per mile" electrical requirements for the MINI E to the capacity of the battery and realizing that they could only achieve the kind of range they're advertising if they recover a LOT of the spent energy via regenerative braking.
That'd make sense... for stop/go traffic. Otherwise, if you're cruising for any significant distance, once the regenerative braking kicks in and you slow down, you have to invest more energy in accelerating again (because, presumably, you didn't want to slow down quite that much). And... the Laws of Thermodynamics say...

Anyways, maybe it just requires a different driving style. "Ride" the gas pedal lightly to let the MINI know you're not slowing down significantly, and let off the gas completely if you want to slow more. I think it'd just take a little getting used to, that's all. Like the electric scooter I rode in China. No regenerative braking, but if you off the throttle completely, the motor is still connected to the battery and thus you get resistance. However, if you stay on the throttle slightly, the motor hardly works but stays free spinning to coast.
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:13 PM
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Even with the credit, $10k for a one year lease sounds rediculous, especially given the stimulus package will provide a tax writeoff for the full purchase of any new car. For just 3 times the annual lease rate you could own a car for 10 to 20 years. If they were offering an E-MINI for sale, I would buy it. Leasing it doesn't make any sense. Why should the customer be expected to pay a 100% lease premium to beta-test a vehicle for the manufacturer. (Because they will, I guess).
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:16 PM
carsncars carsncars is offline
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Even with the credit, $10k for a one year lease sounds rediculous, especially given the stimulus package will provide a tax writeoff for the full purchase of any new car. For just 3 times the annual lease rate you could own a car for 10 to 20 years. If they were offering an E-MINI for sale, I would buy it. Leasing it doesn't make any sense. Why should the customer be expected to pay a 100% lease premium to beta-test a vehicle for the manufacturer. (Because they will, I guess).
I'm pretty sure 95% of MINI-E drivers won't be lease it for economic reasons. These initial owners will probably lease it primarily because of the novelty, or the opportunity to ditch carbon emissions (direct emissions, anyways). Economy might be a secondary reason, but it certainly won't be the primary reason for leasing a MINI-E. Like the Prius when it came out; it demanded such a premium over normal ICE cars, that the first owners bought it for the novelty and chance to be eco-friendly. Now however, it's gone mainstream and it's almost makes economic sense to buy a Prius. Hopefully we'll see the MINI-E or some incarnation of it go mainstream one day.
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