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The Center for Discovery and Sullivan Renaissance to Test Drive Battery-Powered, Zero Emissions Mini Cooper E Vehicles

July 13, 2009

SULLIVAN COUNTY – The Center for Discovery and Sullivan Renaissance are participating in a year-long field study of fully electric zero-emission MINI E vehicles being conducted by BMW Group.  The battery-powered vehicles were delivered earlier this month at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel.   The Center for Discovery and Sullivan Renaissance will each use staff to road test seven vehicles to assist BMW Group experts in the electric cars’ field trial evaluation. 

The fourteen vehicles are part of a group of 450 MINI USA has placed into service in Los Angeles and the New York Metropolitan area for the study. Transportation of the vehicles from BMW in White Plains was made possible with assistance from Jeffrey Miller of Sam’s Auto in Liberty.

The MINI E can travel approximately 100 miles at 65 miles per hour on a single charge depending on driving style and conditions, while providing the agility and handling of a MINI Cooper.  The vehicle is powered by a 150 kilowatt electric motor with the equivalent of 201 hp.  The energy supply comes from a high-performance rechargeable lithium-ion battery.  The vehicle can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 8.5 seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of 95 mph.  MINI will install a special wall box into each MINI E customer’s location that can recharge a completely drained battery in approximately two-and-a-half hours. 

MINI, The Center for Discovery and Sullivan Renaissance all endeavor to make sustainable, environment-friendly vehicles a reality.  Electric cars produce zero emissions, and since the generation of electric power can rely on a broad range of cleaner, renewable energy sources, the entire ecological footprint of an electric vehicle is kept to a minimum.  MINI recognizes that there is still a long way to go before such a vehicle is truly ready for mass production.  Issues such as the lack of public and private infrastructure of high-voltage charging stations are hurdles that need to be cleared before a car like the MINI E will be ready for widespread use.  Addressing these issues is precisely the reason why this field trial has been started.

“As we embark on our field study to determine the viability of electric vehicles, we think it is tremendously beneficial to have The Center for Discovery and the Gerry Foundation driving MINI Es.  We are eager to hear feedback from them about the vehicles’ performance in a suburban setting,” said Jim McDowell, Vice President of MINI USA.

“The Center for Discovery has always tried to take a very proactive approach toward sustainability and has searched for an all-electric car for some time.  This field trial will help us to gain a better understanding of whether these types of vehicles have a practical application for us and our needs.  We suspect that they will work very well for us, and we are grateful to Jonathon Rouis,
Chairman of the Sullivan County Legislature, for assisting us in becoming part of this study.  We are truly excited about working with BMW to test these cars over the next year,” said Richard Humleker, Chief of Development for The Center for Discovery.

Sullivan Renaissance, a division of the Gerry Foundation, is a leader in bringing innovation and environmental best practices to over 350 community revitalization and volunteer beautification projects since it began in 2001.  The Mini E Field Trial will run under the Sullivan Renaissance Environmental Demonstration program.  Sullivan Renaissance will use the vehicles for community site visits and outreach and will collaborate with its sister organization, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, which will test the Mini E as production, operation and facility vehicles. 

“Sullivan Renaissance is pleased to have been selected by MINI USA to participate in this pioneering field study to help advance and test this promising technology.  It’s exciting to be part of the team that helps chart this exciting journey towards the future.  The Mini E's promise of zero carbon emissions fits in with the Gerry Foundation’s mission to improve the quality of life in the county and the surrounding region and with Sullivan County’s efforts to explore steps that reduce adverse impacts on the environment. Hundreds of tons of carbon will not be released into the atmosphere as a result of these 100% electric vehicles,” said Sullivan Renaissance Mini E Field Trial project manager, Colleen Emery.

About The Center for Discovery

The Center for Discovery offers individuals with a range of disabilities and medical frailties – and their families – innovative educational, clinical, residential and social and creative arts experiences designed to enrich their lives through personal accomplishment.

About Sullivan Renaissance

Sullivan Renaissance is a beautification and community development program, and a program of the Gerry Foundation.  Its mission is to enhance the appearance of and quality of life in Sullivan County while building a sense of pride and community spirit.

About Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

The mission of Bethel Woods Center for the Arts is to present compelling programs from the arts that educate, entertain and engage audiences of all ages, to institute community outreach and education and improve the quality of life and vitality of the Sullivan County region. Bethel Woods Center for the Arts is located approximately 90 minutes from New York City at the site of the original 1969 Woodstock festival in Bethel, NY. The 15,000-seat outdoor performing arts venue and The Museum at Bethel Woods are set within 2,000 bucolic acres. The main pavilion covers 4,500 seats with another 10,500 on a natural sloping lawn while offering unique backdrops including the original festival site and the majesty of the surrounding Sullivan County countryside. The venue presents a diverse selection of popular artists, a range of orchestral performances, community events and music and arts educational opportunities.  By providing artists with the opportunity to perform on one of music's most legendary grounds, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts is committed to being a world-class cultural destination. In addition, The Museum at Bethel Woods is now open and will further embed this arts campus as one of the premier sites in New York State.

About MINI in the US

MINI is an independent brand of the BMW Group.  In the United States, MINI USA operates as a business unit of BMW of North America, LLC which has been present in the United States since 1975.  Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003.  The BMW Group in the United States includes marketing, sales and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and the Rolls-Royce brand of motor cars; DesignworksUSA, a strategic design consultancy in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country.  BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group’s global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all X5 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 Sports Activity Coupes.  The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 338 BMW passenger car centers, 335 BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 142 BMW motorcycle retailers, 84 MINI passenger car dealers, and 30 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers.  BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group’s sales headquarters for North America, is located in Woodcliff, New Jersey.