Berkshire

Electric Mini car trial 'is a success'

Peter McManners from Pangbourne
Image caption Peter McManners said he had learned to live with the car's limitations

A Berkshire motorist interested in green issues has said his trial of a new electric car was "a success".

Peter McManners, from Pangbourne, has been driving the Oxford-built Mini E car to test the electric car's suitability to everyday motoring.

He was one of 20 drivers in the trial, run by a consortium led by the car's manufacturer BMW.

Mr McManners said: "I've enjoyed having it but we've had to fit around its limitations, like its lack of range."

The left-hand drive, two-seater prototype is like a conventional Mini car, but its rear seats have been removed to make room for lithium-ion batteries.

Product development

Mr McMannners said he found the lack of rear seats a problem, as he has children.

The car can be charged by a 32-amp charger at a cost of around £1.50, and can run for approximately 100 miles (161km).

The trial was only open to motorists in a specific geographical area between Andover, West London and Oxford. It cost £330 a month to lease the car.

Project leader Suzanne Gray from BMW said: "We're learning not just about electric vehicles but about product development, developing and managing the electricity grid and a charging infrastructure for vehicles."

Data collected from the trial will be analysed by Oxford Brookes University's Sustainable Vehicle Engineering Centre.

The electric-powered Mini car is likely to go into general production in 2013.

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