BMW beat out Nissan Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. in the race to deliver a fully alternative-fuel vehicle to drivers.
The German automakers will lease new all-electric Mini Coopers in Southern California and New York and New Jersey by March 2009, Bloomberg reports.
Drivers will be paying triple the cost of the gasoline-powered model, however – shelling out $850 a month on an annual contract.
BMW’s all-electric Mini E has a range of only 120 miles before recharging. The car is almost four feet shorter than a Toyota Camry, sacrificing the back seat to a 570-pound battery.
The car boasts a braking system that allows for traditional stopping power as well as “regenerative braking,” which slows the car by transferring energy to the battery.
BMW wants to learn more about how drivers react to a limited-range vehicle as well as the performance of its lithium-ion battery, but won’t say if it’s ready to mass-produce an electric car.
The automaker tested the Mini E in Berlin last month.