Mini has previewed its planned 2019 EV with a concept simply dubbed the Mini Electric Concept, showing what to expect from a future zero emissions vehicle from the British small car maker.
A full public reveal will take place at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month, with Mini describing the Electric Concept as a “window into how pure-electric, day-to-day mobility might look in the years ahead”.
Whilst retaining classic Mini design cues, the Electric Concept also introduces a range of efficiency-optimised touches, some of which preview the design themes that could potentially make it onto the 2019 production model.
“The systematic electrification of the brand and product portfolio is a mainstay of the BMW Group’s Number One Next strategy,” according to BMW chairman Harald Krueger.
“The Mini Electric Concept offers a preview of the all-electric production vehicle.”
With emphasis on the Electric Concept as a styling exercise, Mini has yet to release details of the EV’s power output, battery capacity or chassis set-up.
Company insiders did suggest that the eventual production models would utilise electric drive technology from the BMW i3, changing to a front-mounted electric motor to power the front wheels with a lithium ion battery pack taking up the space through the car’s centre tunnel and underneath the rear seat utilising the area that usually houses the fuel tank and exhaust system of regular Mini models.
Beyond that official comment on the Mini Electric Concept’s capabilities remains a secret for now, however TMR understands that an electric range similar to the 235-255km possible in the 94Ah version of the i3 will be possible.
Mini’s previous EV experience includes the 2008 Mini E, used as part of an extensive global test program designed to collect data that became part of the eventual BMW i sub-brand.
Mini’s more recent electrification efforts include the plug-in hybrid Cooper S E Countryman All4 as part of its European lineup, with a pair of evaluation vehicles making their way to Australia in the near future for promotional and assesment duties
Despite styling similarities with the regular three-door Mini range, the Electric Concept also introduces new themes including a blanked off grille, smoother wheel arch detailing, and an intricate side sill design that incorporates an air breather up front and a small integrated wing at the trailing edge.
“The Mini Electric Concept is a quintessential Mini: compact, agile, simply the ideal companion for everyday driving,” said, BMW Group Senior Vice-President of Design, Adrian van Hooydonk said.
“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.”
While BMW i propulsion technology is likely to be used for the production Mini Electric, its pioneering high-volume carbon fibre construction methods may not, with cheaper glass fibre elements likely to take the place of the more expensive material. Exterior elements created with the use of a 3D printer are also part of the concept presentation, which Hooydonk believes could open up a new market for customisation.
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