MUNICH, Germany With gasoline prices skyrocketing, the automotive industry gets going with electrically-driven vehicles. Now car maker BMW launches a field trial with hundreds of 'E-Minis'.
Within the next months, the Bavarian luxury car manufacturer who also owns the British Mini heritage brand will launch several field trials to test alternative drives. The trials will focus on electric drives, the company said. In this context, the company currently prepares several hundreds of its Mini sub-compact car. The vehicles, built in BMW's Mini factory in Oxford (England), will be equipped with electric motors and prepared for the test operation in Munich.
With the move, the company hopes to gather experience how energy-efficient mobility can be shaped, based on electric drives, the company said. "We want to enforce our claim to combine driving pleasure with a powerful electric drive at zero emission," said BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer in a statement.
The trials will take place over the coming 18 to 21 months. According to BMW, they aim at refining the technology which means that the company already has left behind the phase of basic R&D.
BMW declined to provide technical details with respect to drives, power sources or electrical equipment. A company spokesperson only acknowledged that the trial embraces various different concepts and implementations. She also said that the there is no presumption if the company's future development focus will be placed on hybrid drives, clean diesel, or e-car. She also said that trials with electric drives at BMW are not restricted to the Mini product family.
Details regarding the electrical drives will be announced against the end of the year, the company informed.
Besides BMW, also other German automotive OEMs are working on electrically driven cars. In an Interview with EE Times Europe, Audi E/E chief developer Willibert Schleuter acknowledged several months ago that the company at least considers building such a car.