Mini Electric Concept

Mini Electric Concept

Mini announced at the 2017 Frankfurt auto show that an all-electric version of the Mini Cooper will go into production in late 2019. In Frankfurt, the brand unveiled the Mini Electric Concept, a fanciful concept version of the expected EV—after teasing the possibility of Mini Electric for more than two years.

Rewind to 2016 when Peter Schwarzenbauer—a board member at BMW (the maker of Mini cars)— said that a pure-EV Mini was only being considered and that production was “not guaranteed.” At the time, Schwarzenbauer said that the urban-oriented Mini brand was an excellent match for an EV. But he cautioned, “Much depends on progress in battery technology,” casting doubt on the ability to provide enough driving range at an attractive price. While Mini has not yet confirmed exact specifications for the Mini Electric—only stating a “fine operating range” in its press release—journalists speculate that the upcoming Mini Electric will offer more than 200 miles of range on a single charge.

The final design and specifications will be informed by BMW’s experience with its lightweight, aerodynamic i3 electric car. “We have learned a lot about electromobility,” Schwarzenbauer said. “Everything learned from i3 will be applied to Mini’s EVs.” He added that the specs are a moving target because new technology could be developed between now and late 2019 when the Mini Electric is due.

Mini Electric Concept

The use of learnings from the i3 represents a full-circle return for BMW’s electric-car projects. Starting in 2008, Mini produced approximately 600 Mini-E cars—leasing them to municipalities and individuals in Southern California, New York, and New Jersey. Those Mini-Es offered about 100 miles of driving range via a 35 kilowatt-hour battery pack (that took up space in the back seat and trunk).

BMW’s primary goal was to learn about the driving and charging experiences of real-world drivers—and to use that info for creating the i3. Now, in turn, four years of selling the BMW i3 is providing the data to be used in creating an all-electric Mini.

Mini has been selling the Countryman SE Plug-in Hybrid in low quantities for nearly a year. However, the upcoming Mini Electric will be the brand’s first legitimate all-electric car—and the second one produced by BMW. The Mini Electric will be manufactured in Oxford, England.

Christopher Weil, head of MINI exterior design, said the Mini Electric Concept used “a very reduced form language that takes out the detailing.” Its sleek, minimalist design earned raves from reviewers—although features from futuristic concept models rarely go into production.

Adrian van Hooydonk, senior vice-president of the BMW Group Design, added, “Indeed, aerodynamics and lightweight design aren’t just important in the world of motorsport. They are also essential factors for maximizing electric range.”

Mini Electric Concept

Whatever form it takes, Mini fans and EV advocates can now rest assured that an all-electric Mini is definitely going into production in about November 2019—perhaps as a 2020 model. And BMW will also produce an electric Mini in China for the local market through a joint venture with Great Wall Motors.

These developments reveal that BMW is intent on achieving its goal of offering at least 12 electric vehicles by 2025. PluginCars.com will publish detailed specs, photos, and driving notes for the Mini Electric, as soon as they become available.

Mini Electric specifications

Availability: 2020
Base MSRP: TBD
Est. tax credit: $7500
Technology: Electric Vehicle
Body type: Sedan
Seats: 5
EPA Range: 200 miles pure electric
Battery size:
Charging rate:

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