MINI faces the challenge of Electronic Vehicle Testing

MINI learns the perils of electronic car testing the hard way. It was not as easy as charge and go. The venture into electronic vehicles really takes a lot more than that. The testing of the first electronic car started in April 2009, and the second electric four-seat, four-door ActiveE 1 Series based car will be made available for trial by BMW in 2011.

It took 7 long months before approval from the local government for the 450 MINI E lessees to get approved in the USA. The problems in the MINI E trial rooted from the need to install a 220-volt charger in the lessees’ garage. Many states in the US did not have provisions for installing this kind of equipment. Plus, Mini E did not have Underwriters Laboratories Stickers which means that it passed product safety guidelines. They only got the stickers three months after the trial was launched. Thus, significantly slowing down the testing process.

Before installing the charger however, there were still inspections that necessary to determine if the house needed an extra fuse box to accommodate the 220 volt/40 amp current necessary for the Mini E to charge fast.
But this caused problematic and expensive installations for the lessees who own their houses, and a challenge of billing system especially for those who lived in condominiums and apartments. All of these needed to be solved by MINI alone. They covered all costs including insurance.

The battery efficiency was also a huge problem that we reported last week. This was discovered when the MINI E was exposed to extreme weather conditions such as winter, which caused the battery range to drop by 20 to 30%.

In general, the testing was expensive and difficult. Let’s just hope this will not go to waste.

Source: Autonews

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