Mini: First taste of the Electric

BMW, the parent of the iconic 3-door hatch manufacturer, has released sketches of some of the production parts of the upcoming, all-electric Mini. 

Through a post on its website today, BMW released images of the first design features which are confirmed to be present in the production version of the new Mini. The new sketches, which show the grille and the wheel of the Electric are almost identical to the corresponding features on the MINI Electric Concept, teased in August 2017 with a video on Mini's website. One could assume that other features of the production model will be taken from the concept model, without much variation. The front grille, published today, even incorporates the new Electric logo - a round, yellow button with a silver E covering the left semi-circle. In the concept car, a similar version of the logo is also seen on the fuel cap (or in this case, the plug cap). 

According to Mini's website, there is nothing groundbreaking about the new Mini, apart from the new drivetrain - which will be purely electric. The characteristic go-kart driving, largely associated with the car that everyone came to love after its appearance in the hit movie "Italian Job" in 2003. will be present in the Mini Electric. 

Autoblog, whose spy photographer recently caught a glimpse of a test version of the new Mini charging somewhere in the Alps, describes the car as fundamentally similar to the standard Mini. Some of the few novelties owe their existence to the very nature of the powertrain. The front grille, for example, is more solid than the its gas-powered Mini counterpart: the lack of an internal-combustion engine eliminates the need for increased airflow. Accordingly, a solid grille, improving the vehicle's aerodynamic performance, is a wiser choice for the electric hatch. Expectedly, the vehicle also lacks an exhaust system, so its rear is dominated (in the version shown on Mini's website) by a sport bumper which takes queues from the sportier Mini Cooper S. 

As USAToday reports, BMW is partnering with Great Wall Motors, the Chinese SUV brand, to produce the all new Mini. As China is fast moving towards an all-electric future, BMW rightly chose to move part of their production there. Notably, China is BMW's biggest market, with sales in the Asian country exceeding sales in the next two markets, USA and Germany, combined. It should be noted that BMW recently entered into a billion dollar contract with the Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL), so it would not be surprising if the new Electric used CATL batteries produced in China. 

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Cover Photo Credit: Alexander Migl

Andrew Kyprianides