BMW and Mini have provided hundreds of vehicles for the 2012 London Olympic Games, most of which are used to shuttle dignitaries, athletes, and adjudicators around London in time for each event. But in addition to normal, life-size vehicles, Mini has deployed a fleet of tiny cars it calls Mini Minis.
The three Mini Minis are 1/4th-scale radio-controlled cars painted with an Olympic Games livery, and complete with details like working headlights and windshield wipers. Each car has a 10-hp electric motor that can run for about 35 minutes, before the battery needs to be charged for 80 minutes. Over the course of the Olympic Games, each of the Mini Minis is expected travel about 3.7 miles per day.
So why, exactly, will three toy cars collectively drive almost 12 miles around the Olympic arenas daily? The point of the cars — aside from further touting Mini at the Games — is to help retrieve hammers, discus, or javelins during track and field events. The 55-pound radio-control cars can carry a payload of up to 18 pounds, which is placed in the open sunroof. The cars can be controlled from up to 328 feet away, allowing an operator to collect equipment without having to run all over the field. Lazy? Perhaps, but it sounds like a modern-day way to help the Games run smoothly. And, of course, promote the Mini brand.
In addition to the electric toy cars, Mini and BMW also have provided real-size electric vehicles for the Olympic Games. BMW made 160 of its 1 Series ActiveE electric coupes available, while Mini deployed 40 Mini E electric hatchbacks.
Each of the Mini Mini cars measures 43.3 inches long and 19.7 inches wide. A regular Mini Cooper hatchback, by contrast, is 146.6 inches long and 66.3 inches long. There’s no word yet on whether Mini will sell these Olympic runabouts available to the general public, but it’s on our wish list just in case.