We learned just a few months ago that BMW was preparing to build a fleet of 500 battery-powered MINIs that it would unleash for field testing in California. When we spoke to MINI USA VP Jim McDowell in July, the U.S. staff had been caught as off-guard by the announcement as we had and they didn't know any technical details of the new EVs. However, CAR magazine in the UK has managed to snag some photos of what appears to be an electric MINI prototype. The car in the photos has the standard MINI Cooper S rear bumper but is conspicuously missing the dual tailpipes that normally sit in that indentation in the middle. CAR is also reporting that BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer will unveil the MINI EV at the LA Auto Show in November. All but 10 of the initial batch of 500 cars are expected to be leased to the public beginning in mid-2009 with the others reserved for internal company use. BMW still hasn't revealed any technical details of the car, but hopefully we'll know something soon. All we know so far is that the word "Erprobungsfahrzeug" appears on the signage on the doors and tailgate of the car in the photos. We translate that to mean "test vehicle."

UPDATE: German word fixed.

[Source: CAR]