MINI leases not good enough for some electric car champions

July 1, 2009

Sometimes, even electric vehicles aren’t good enough for the die-hard green car set.

An electric car advocacy group on Tuesday criticized California’s influential air quality regulator, the California Air Resources Board, for allowing BMW’s one-year pilot program of electric Mini Coopers to earn the same credit towards the state’s clean vehicle program as standard production cars.

California is requiring that automakers, collectively, put 7,500 zero-emissions vehicles, or ZEVs, on its roads.

But Plug In America on Tuesday said there is a “gaping loophole” in the program that “could deal a blow to the proliferation of plug-in vehicles.”

Specifically, the group targeted BMW’s leasing program of 500 electric Mini Coopers, which it calls MINI Es.

“CARB is allowing BMW to game the system by accruing the maximum number of ZEV credits with the least amount of effort,” Plug In America legislative director Jay Friedland said in a statement. “In order to receive full credit, these vehicles must be offered for sale.”

CARB plans to revisit the regulation next year and will be looking at ways to accelerate the commercialization of electric vehicles, according to spokesman Dimitri Stanich.

In the meantime, “we’ve urged BMW to consider extending that one-year lease,” Stanich said.

BMW officials were not available for comment.


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When I was growing up my Mother would make me put my toys away when I was done playing. As I grew older I was required to do chores and clean up after myself or the dog. I would have to sweep up loose clippings after cutting the lawn. Being young, male and impetuous I would sometimes try to shirk some of these responsibilities.

If ever I spilled food at some ones house my immediate response was to find something to clean the mess I had made. However when incidents like the Exxon Valdez and Kingston Tennessee toxic spills occur, leadership and those responsible try to “shirk” their responsibilities or get the government to clean the mess they made. Court battles ensue for the injured to be compensated for their loss.

I suppose it is reasonable to conclude that many persons in positions of corporate power were not raised right. However at some point people must take responsibility for their actions and attempt to grow as human beings regardless of upbringing.

Some messes are too devastating and activities leading to their culmination should be halted. Burning coal for electricity and leaving fly ash slurry (toxic waste) is one such activity. The Earth is not ours to do with as we wish. We should act more like grateful guests.

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive

They are right.
The Mini Es are a one year “experiment” by BMW.
They plan to collect them at the end of the lease for testing – and that’s the last we will see of them.
CARB should be rewarding car manufacturers for delivering vehicles to the market that *stay* in the market, not pilot programs that just test the waters.

Posted by EV Miata | Report as abusive

[…] response w&#97s to s&#97&#121 th&#97t it will loo&#107 &#97t its regul&#97tions next &#121e&#97r &#97nd […]

Posted by Plug In America criticizes CARB loophole that could help BMW with its MINI E » Hybrid News | Report as abusive

[…] response was to say that it will look at its regulations next year and that “we’ve urged BMW to […]

Posted by Plug In America criticizes CARB loophole that could help BMW with its MINI E | Report as abusive

BMW cannot get away with pulling an “EV-1 lease” scam on us. Sell these cars and support them.

People want these cars and would buy them, even at 50K. I know I would. Please take my money!

Posted by Nick P. | Report as abusive