10 Years in the Making: Mini Previews Styling of Upcoming EV Concept

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
10 years in the making mini previews styling of upcoming ev concept

In 2009, BMW avoided jumping the gun when it introduced an electric conversion of its Mini Cooper as a test platform instead of a production vehicle. Dubbed the “Mini E,” and limited to two seats due to its massive battery pack, the prototype served as a short-term consumer testbed for field trials and was deployed in several countries, including the United States.

However, as other automakers brought production EVs into the world, Mini held off — perhaps waiting for an more advantageous moment to enter the segment.

That moment appears to have arrived. The brand decided Wednesday to tease us with photos of its new “Mini Electric Concept,” which it says will enter into production in 2019. Its shares its powertrain with the BMW i3, so expect a driving range of at least 110 e-miles (or 180 with an optional gasoline range extender) and an electric motor producing a minimum of 160 horsepower.

Unlike the Mini E, the Electric Concept is a four-seater, and it will persist in this layout when it inevitably goes into production.

Styling is always subjective but it’s on-brand in just about every way you could imagine. Its perhaps a bit much in terms of aero, but distinctively modern and clearly a Cooper. Mini claims the bodywork is mostly aerodynamically sound but also specified this was a car designed with the urban environment in mind — so it’s not so much about making downforce as it is adding MPGs.

That said, BMW Group says it wants the EV to maintain the Cooper’s enjoyable handling properties.

“With its characteristic go-kart feeling and powerful electric motor, the Mini Electric Concept is great fun to drive while also being completely suitable for everyday use — and producing zero emissions to boot. That’s how we at Mini envisage electric mobility in tomorrow’s world,” said Peter Schwarzenbauer, management board member of BMW AG responsible for Mini, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad, said in a statement.

As this is a concept vehicle, the automaker had plenty to say about the vehicle’s appearance. But we wouldn’t encourage you to hold your breath on a two-toned matte and gloss paint job with contrasting accents. Likewise, those aftermarket-looking font fenders probably won’t stick around. But we wouldn’t be opposed to the closed-off faux grille, EV bumpers, and unique LED lights staying. It’s also nice to see a car entirely devoid of chrome, which presents a sense of modernity without feeling gimmicky — something the standard Cooper lacks.

The Frankfurt Auto Show gets underway this September and the concept Mini is certain to make a public appearance. The production model is tentatively slated for 2019, a full decade after the Mini E was introduced.

[Image: BMW Group]

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  • SilverCoupe SilverCoupe on Aug 30, 2017

    The tail lights look like halves of a Union Jack, which is a nice touch - but as turn signals, the arrows would be pointing the wrong way! The wheels look like some sort of an electrical outlet, which is also an appropriate touch.

  • Flybrian Flybrian on Aug 30, 2017

    Shares underpinnings with the i3...so this is a RWD MINI?

  • El scotto Another year the Nissan Rogue is safe.
  • John R 4,140 lbs...oof. A quick google of two cars I'm familiar with:2017 Ford Fusion Sport - AWD, twin-turbo 2.7 V6 (325 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque)3,681 lbs2006 Dodge Charger RT - RWD, naturally aspirated 5.7 V8 (340 horsepower and 390 lb. -ft. of torque)4,031 lbs
  • FreedMike Ford "Powershudder" DCT? Hard pass...with extreme prejudice. The only people who liked these were the class-action lawyers. With a manual, it'd be a different story.
  • Cprescott I blow on a pinwheel....
  • Jkross22 Looks good in and out, but pricing is nonsensical. Anyone spending in the low to upper 40s and wanting something like this would be better off in a Stelvio and anyone wanting a small, fun SUV would be better off in a Q3, X1 or even X3. All hover around that price.Dodge is getting high off its own supply.