Is the Mini about to turn into actually Mini once more? Ever since BMW relaunched the Mini model in 2001, many traditionalists have been grumpy about how large and hulking the present Mini has turn into, relative to its sylph-like 1959 unique (apparently these folks don’t perceive how crumple-zones work).
Now although, it appears to be like as if the Mini will shrink slightly when the brand new model goes on sale subsequent 12 months. Or at the least this totally electrical one appears as if it would. It’s slightly exhausting to inform from these camouflaged prototypes of the brand new Mini EV working round north of the Arctic Circle, close to the Swedish city of Arjeplog, however the entrance and rear overhangs do look slightly shorter than these of the present Mini hatch.
Such a dimensional change would tally with feedback made beforehand by senior Mini engineers who wish to convey the automotive and the model again to a extra compact dimension, and reverse a few of the bloating that’s gone on.
This new all-electric Mini will give each the designers and the engineers the perfect probability to just do that, with out compromising on cabin house – a trick that the unique Mini pulled off so effectively.
“With its vehicle concept geared to fully electric driving fun from the outset, the new edition of the original is ideally suited to deliver inspiring hallmark Mini agility and the creative use of space, which guarantees plenty of room inside and a small footprint” stated Stefanie Wurst, head of the Mini model. “Mini is on a path of growth and heading towards a fully electric future. Our iconic Mini three-door, maximises the experience for our customers through its electrified go-kart feeling combined with digitalised touchpoints – and a clear focus on sustainability with a minimal environmental footprint.”
Those digital touchpoints will embody the excision of the present automotive’s instrument display screen in favour of a heads-up show, and a radical ultra-thin, free-standing round infotainment display screen that appears like a huge, digital dinner plate. Mini has additionally been making noises about prospects having the ability to customise their vehicles after buy, which sounds very very like an app-store equal within the dashboard, and the potential for subscriptions for some high-end features reminiscent of computerized high-beam headlights and the like.
That inside, together with the physique, battery, electrical motor and all the pieces else, is not going to be inbuilt Mini’s conventional dwelling of BMW’s Plant Oxford, in Britain. Instead, Mini has signed an settlement with Chinese carmaker Great Wall to co-design and construct the electrical variations of the brand new Mini in China. It had been rumoured for some time that the Mini would share a platform with Great Wall’s personal VW Beetle-esque Ora Cat EV, however that appears unlikely at this level. The electrical Mini will sit on a singular EV-only platform, whereas petrol-engined variations will use the prevailing UKL1 platform and proceed to be inbuilt Oxford.
Mini isn’t saying something about efficiency nor vary as but, solely commenting that: “The electric drivetrain, high-voltage battery, power electronics and charging technology of the prototypes are already demonstrating their high degree of maturity at extreme temperatures below freezing. Snow-covered roads and specially prepared areas on frozen lakes also serve as ideal test tracks on which the characteristics of the drive, steering and chassis can be very sensitively tested, refined and harmonised with each other.”
Union flag brake lights
However, it will likely be unquestionably crucial for the second-generation electrical Mini to dramatically enhance on the present Mini Cooper S E’s paltry 233km one-charge vary. Expect it to have at the least 320km of vary, to permit it to compete with Fiat’s 500e.
Style smart, it’s clear even underneath the camouflage that the look of the present mannequin might be broadly carried over, albeit with a dramatic new rear gentle remedy that sees the top of the present chunky brake lights and their substitute with extra distinctive, triangular lights linked by a bar working throughout the bootlid. Hopefully, that may also imply an finish for the reasonably gauche union flag brake gentle design . . . You can even see from the styling that the Mini’s tech quotient will enhance – there’s a definite hole within the camouflage to permit a forward-looking digicam and radar system to see out, indicating that it’ll include lane-keeping steering and lively cruise management.
By 2027 Mini desires half of all its gross sales worldwide to be made up of EVs. And it would launch a totally electrical model of the next-generation Mini Countryman crossover to assist bolster that determine. By 2025, the model can have launched its final new combustion-engined mannequin, and it has all however confirmed that sporty John Cooper Works variations of electrical fashions are within the offing. Hopefully, there may be room within the manufacturing schedule for the sensible little “Urbanaut” Mini MPV which was proven final 12 months – a automotive that might make way more sense for city households than yet one more SUV.