The one and only time I’ve driven a Mini it was in England, lasted about 2 minutes, wasn’t legal and included a young blonde (the owner) chasing after me in the parking lot of a pub. That was a great drive.
Fast forward a few years and I’m back in the U.S., leading the creative team that built the first, “pre-launch” website for the introduction of the new MINI in 2000, which meant that I was marinating in all things MINI (the history, the style, Alex Issigonis, etc.) for months. I event spent 3 days in Detroit at the Auto Show, interviewing devotees about their memories of the original. I got to sit in one, but I couldn’t drive it.
By the time they were available, I had 2 kids and a cute but practical wife who didn’t think a MINI should be our family car. I always thought I could just pop in for a test drive, but the time was never right.
Then a few months ago I heard about the MINI-E program, and over lunch I filled out the application. In February I got an email from MINI of Westchester saying I was in-line to become a “MINI-E Pioneer”. Which gives me the right to sign an $800/month lease on a car I have to give back in 12 months.
So why am I doing this? Two reasons.
The first is what I experienced back at that Pub parking lot: the drive was just so much fun. Money will come and go, but I’ll only get one chance to be a test-driver for an electric vehicle that has the MINI driving experience – and that’s just worth it to me.
The second is that I simply believe we need to find a way to transport ourselves without burning extraordinary amounts of fossil fuels. More on that reason in my soon-to-come second post!