The UK Government’s Technology Strategy Board announced yesterday that a consortium led by BMW Group will be supported by a proportion of a £25m fund, enabling the MINI E to be introduced and tested on British roads by a mixture of private, corporate and public sector drivers before the end of 2009.
The Technology Strategy Board exists to promote business innovation in technology and BMW Group’s application followed an invitation for proposals outlining innovative, industry-led collaborative research projects involving ultra-low carbon vehicles. The objective of the Technology Strategy Board is to encourage manufacturers to develop ultra-low carbon vehicles that customers want to buy and bring them to market as rapidly as possible.
MINI E models will be on UK roads for a twelve-month field trial that will evaluate the technical and social aspects of living with an all-electric vehicle in a real world environment. This year-long project will play an important part in informing future strategic and technological decisions.
BMW Group is bringing together an energy infrastructure provider and an academic partner, with the support of a regional development agency and local authorities, to make the MINI E research project a reality in the UK. The MINI E UK Research Consortium, of which BMW Group is the lead partner, comprises several organisations which are based around Oxford and the South-East of England. All will play important roles in the collaborative field trial.
The consortium’s other members include an electric energy and infrastructure provider (Scottish and Southern Energy), an academic partner (Oxford Brookes University’s Sustainable Vehicle Engineering Centre) and the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) as well as Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council.
The research results we obtain will help inform those bodies seeking to create the political, technical and commercial framework necessary to enable sustainable mobility in a low carbon future to become reality. They will also give our own engineers a clearer picture of customers’ requirements and aspirations as they develop an electric vehicle for series production.” Andy Hearn, General Manager, MINI UK
Scottish and Southern Energy, the UK’s leading generator of energy from renewable sources, will be responsible for providing the infrastructure in and around Oxford and other locations in the South-East of England by installing the private and public charging points that will be required to recharge the batteries in the MINI E test vehicles.
Oxford Brookes University, under the direction of Professor Allan Hutchinson who leads its Sustainable Vehicle Engineering Centre, will be responsible for undertaking scientific data analysis as well as conducting customer surveys to capture the subjective feedback from users of the MINI E test vehicles.
A comprehensive report documenting the main findings of the MINI E research project will be published at the end of the trial. This will help inform those bodies seeking to create the political, technical and commercial framework necessary to enable sustainable mobility in a low carbon future to become reality.
Andy Hearn, General Manager at MINI UK, said: “It makes perfect sense for us to undertake a research project in MINI’s home country and I’m delighted that the Technology Strategy Board will be supporting our investment and the collaborative activities of our consortium members.”
“The research results we obtain will help inform those bodies seeking to create the political, technical and commercial framework necessary to enable sustainable mobility in a low carbon future to become reality. They will also give our own engineers a clearer picture of customers’ requirements and aspirations as they develop an electric vehicle for series production.”
The announcement of the MINI E UK Research Consortium’s field trial means that the MINI E will now be tested in all three of the MINI’s largest markets as similar 12-month research projects are already underway in Germany and North America.
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