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MINI E – Passed the First Hurdle!

I received an email from our local MINI dealer this morning, stating that “According to MINI USA, your E MINI application is very special and at the top of the list!”

The email included a two-page follow up MINI E Application document, along with the request to “Please fill out the answers truthfully, as we approach the final stages of a lengthy application process.”

I gave the local salesperson a call to get the skinny, and he was quite forthcoming.

Apparently, over 13,000 people applied for the one-year MINI E lease. MINI has been winnowing down the applicants and this second application form will be used to enter the final stages for the lucky few. Once the application is submitted, it must pass muster with BMW finance and proof of liability insurance must be provided. At that point, an electrician will come out to check to see if modifications are necessary for the home electrical system to accommodate the MINI E charging box.

We’re in the midst of doing the math to determine the feasibility of the $850 per month yearly lease. If gas was still over $4 per gallon, we’d be in like Flint.

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4 comments ↓

#1 Scott on 01.30.09 at 5:06 am

Interesting post. I applied from CA. My nearest dealer called to ask if I was still interested in the Mini E, and emailed me only the credit application. He said they were collecting all the applications from potential Mini E owners who had passed the initial application process and would submit them together. I was alerted by my credit monitoring service a couple of days ago that BMW checked my credit. That’s all I know for now.

#2 ctd on 02.02.09 at 1:45 pm

I was just contacted Friday by my local dealer saying I was chosen and if I wanted to move forward with it.

I’m on the fence, just because $924/month (including tax) plus liability insurance doesn’t seem all that attractive anymore.

#3 Mike on 02.08.09 at 9:10 pm

I got called last week, but I’m not sure if I want to try to afford it.
With my current car paid off, the $850/month is daunting ($10,200 for the year!).

The dealer told me I have a week or so to decide to go for the second step (credit check). I’m in NJ (near the Morristown Mini dealer).
I really wish this wasn’t such a hard decision.

My math and assumptions…
My commute is exactly 100 miles daily (clocked last week) with 20 working days a month. I’m ignoring weekend driving for now.
That’s basically the full charge of the Mini-E
I also checked my electric bill and it’s $0.12/kWH

So, 30 kWH each charge x $0.12/kWH = $3.60 per day or $72/month for electricity

I get about 22 mpg with my car (I know I know) so that’s about 91 gallons/month ((100/day x 20 days) / 22 mpg)
Even though I know it’s low, I’ll use a conservative $1.75/gallon (super) = $160/month for gas

My gas calculation made it $160/month, so I’d save about $88/month or $1056/year.

In summary….
Mini-E
Lease/Maintenance: $850/month x 12 = $10,200/year
Electricity: $72/month x 12 = $864/year
Insurance: TBD, but could be ~$600/year + alternative insurance which I would drop down for a weekend-only instead of commuting ($800?).
Mini-E ends up being about $1048/month

Current Car
Lease/Loan/Cost: $0/month + $800 Maintenance/year = $800/year
Insurance: $1103/year
Gas = $160/month x 12 months = $1920/year
Current car ends up being $319/month

That’s about $730/month difference or an extra $8760/year. Even if I subtract out my $1056/year savings on gas, I end up with $7704/year. Ouch.
There is a $7500 tax credit, but it affects everyone differently due to the AMT, etc.

Good luck! I’ll probably be forced to pass.

#4 Scott on 02.10.09 at 8:52 pm

I would expect to find as Mike did, that any attempt to cost-justify the lease or tell yourself that it is somehow a practical plan is fruitless. You are paying for the opportunity to try out a cutting edge car for a year. That being said there is obviously a reasonable limit for the total cost so that is something I will be doing the math on as things proceed.

Right now I am past the lease and insurance approvals, next step is to check out the electrical situation and see what it will take to get the charging box working in the garage.

I was pleasantly surprised by the insurance quotes- my current carrier quoted approx $250/ year to add the Mini, and Mini’s carrier actually quoted me less to insure both cars than I am paying now for my current car. That’s with apples-to-apples coverage limits, etc.

I am quite curious as to whether field trial applications will open back up. I have to think that a large number of applicants will pass when faced with the total cost of ownership. I think it’s a shame from a marketing and R&D point of view, because the cost is too high to get a true cross section of drivers.

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