PASADENA, CA - Seven new BMW Mini-E electric cars are being tested by the Pasadena Department of Water and Power as part of a year-long nationwide field trial to evaluate their performance as part of a municipal fleet, according to the Pasadena Star News.

The compact cars were provided to the city on a 12-month lease at "nominal cost," said John Hoffner of the Pasadena Department of Water and Power, reported the Pasadena Star.

Hoffner said the city went through an application process and initially was allocated one car, but was allowed six extra vehicles, which he said may be attributed to the City's decade-long use and support of electric vehicles, according to the Star.

Along with the water department, the electric Minis will be used by employees in the departments of transportation and public works, mostly for making customer calls or doing field work around the city's 25 square-mile area, Hoffner said.

The department has used several different types of electrical vehicles in the past, Hoffner said, but the Minis are the smallest.

"They are giving a significant cost break to non-profit public agencies because they do want this feedback for fleet-type of users," he said.

The electric cars are heavier than the conventional Minis, Hoffner said, but look much the same, except for the logos and "huge decal" of an electric plug on the roof.