Mini E public test opening soon near you - maybe

1 September 2009

BMW Mini EHave you got a garage or driveway next to your home? Do you live in the affluent South East? Are you happy driving a left hooker? And most importantly, have you got two grand burning a hole in your pocket?

If you’ve answered yes to all of the above then you might – just might – be eligible to apply to become one of the 40 punters who will be let loose with a Mini E on British soil later this year, as the BMW electric-car test programme moves on to its public taste-test phase.

As well as clearing the four hurdles above, you will have to live in the right part of the South East. If you live in Ealing, for example, you are welcome to put your name forward. If you live in Tower Hamlets, though, you can sling your hook. It’s all to do with the infrastructure controlled by power supply partner Southern Electric, apparently, not BMW postcode snobbery. Try your luck at the Mini E microsite.

The two grand is required because if you succeed in becoming a part of the trial, you will be asked to contribute £330 per month for a half-year stint in the front half of the Mini, getting intimately acquainted with the foibles of the big battery occupying the rear half. Insurance is thrown in. And at the end of the six months you will have to hand the Mini E back, perhaps in the same reluctant, lovelorn way as GM EV1s were reportedly returned to their maker.

Alas we don’t qualify for the test programme, as the GreenMotor garage is located at the wrong end of the river.

Smart ForTwo edThe cost seems a little steep to us too – we recently threw our name into the hat for the upcoming public lease programme for Smart’s ForTwo Ed, which promises costs of “sub-£200 per month” for the privilege of doing Smart’s R&D donkeywork.

We’ll let you know if we get picked to pilot an electric Smart for a year. Or maybe we won’t – one of the boxes to tick on the Smart questionnaire said, “Would you be prepared to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement?”. Bearing in mind that a “no” would probably see our application sent to the round filing cabinet in the corner, we reluctantly answered in the affirmative.

So you haven’t read this, right?

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