Its ambitions are not mini at all.
The BMW Group has quite a show set for the Frankfurt motor show. BMW is bringing the new M5 and the Concept Z4, and we’re pretty sure that the Rolls-Royce Phantom will make it there too. Not one to be left out, it appears that Mini’s got something cooking too, in the form of the Mini Electric Concept.
Designed as the ultimate urban runabout, the Electric Concept previews what the future will look like for the brand, which is keen to retain key aspects of ‘Mini-ness’ like the go-kart handling and iconic design language as it moves into a new era.
“The systematic electrification of the brand and product portfolio is a mainstay of the BMW Group’s NUMBER ONE > NEXT strategy. The Mini Electric Concept offers a thrilling preview of the all-electric production vehicle. MINI and electrification make a perfect match.” —Harald Krüger, Chairman, Board of Management, BMW AG
Mixing the future of urban mobility and Mini DNA meant that the Mini Electric was designed from the ground up to excel in the urban environment. It’s usability and practicality in a built-up setting was thanks to the data collected by some 600 Mini-E cars that were deployed in 2009 for field studies, which in turn influenced the design and engineering behind the BMW i3. And though Mini only made its first real step towards emissions-free mobility this year with the introduction of the Cooper S E Countryman All4 plug-in hybrid, the brand intends to bring a production electric vehicle to market by 2019.
“The MINI Electric Concept is a quintessential MINI – compact, agile, simply the ideal companion for everyday driving. At the same time, it conveys a whole new take on the concept of sportiness. Indeed, aerodynamics and lightweight design aren’t just important in the world of motor sport; they are also essential factors for maximising electric range. The car’s surfaces have a sense of precision and contemporary clarity about them that lends added impact to the car’s efficient character. Plus, striking accents and vivid contrasts give the exterior that distinctive MINI twist.” — Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President, BMW Group Design
There’s no mistaking the car in these images as anything other than a Mini, despite the millions of little revisions that mark this out as an electric concept car. The filled-in grille is a good indicator of its charged-up powertrain, which has been given flashes of ‘Striking Yellow’ accents to improve visual drama. The accent in the grille has been replicated in the headlights as well, visually extending the width of the element and highlighting the horizontal aspects of the design.
Moving on toward the sides, it looks decidedly cleaner and more direct in its appearance, with moulded fibreglass bits along the lower edge to intensify the Mini’s compact proportions. The wheels see a further extension of the grille design, and feature an asymmetrical design that will tick off orderly types. There are discreet ‘E’ badges above the front wheel arches, along with a smattering of ‘Mini E’ badges dotted around the car, ensuring that no one will think that it runs on anything as outdated as fuel.
The rear screams ‘UK’ and ‘Mini’ in one breath, with proportions and design elements designed in a way that hasn't changed since the swinging 60s, albeit now featuring a Union Jack design in an LED dot matrix. There are aerodynamic elements back here through, with a fibreglass diffuser and air deflectors that both serve to make the car more aerodynamically-efficient but also more visually arresting. Another dose of Striking Yellow is applied here to highlight the lack of exhausts and announce the electric drive system.
According to Mini, the Electric Concept “encapsulates Mini’s near-term vision of an all-electric car designed for urban mobility in a changing world,” and they’re certainly not wrong. If we had a daydream about an electric Mini this would likely be it, and we join the throngs of people who are undoubtedly excited that Mini is not a brand that’ll disappear in the wave of electric mobility.