Mini has chosen the upcoming Frankfurt International auto show for the global unveiling of its next-generation plug-in electric car.
Though the company is at pains to emphasize that it is still a design study and is therefore appearing in concept form, make no mistake: a full-on production car that will look remarkably similar, will be on sale globally before the end of 2019.
The BMW-owned brand is committed to moving into the pure battery electric vehicle market before the end of the decade. “The Mini Electric Concept offers a thrilling preview of the all-electric production vehicle,” said Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG. “The systematic electrification of the brand and product portfolio is a mainstay of the BMW Group’s NUMBER ONE > NEXT strategy.”
When BMW moved into the electric car market with the i3 it had to overcome a major challenge, namely adopting battery power without compromising on the tenants for which its cars were famous – i.e., performance, quality and handling.
And with this concept, Mini is attempting to solve similar problems. For example, a hefty, long-range battery pack could destroy the go-kart-like driving sensation that’s been the Mini’s calling card since the very first model back in August 1959.
The company hasn’t revealed how large the battery pack is, where it’s been positioned, or how potent the motor is that it will be powering, but promises that electrification will not eradicate the car’s personality.
“[It] is a quintessential Mini – compact, agile, simply the ideal companion for everyday driving,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design.
The company has looked to advanced aerodynamics and exotic materials to offset any extra weight added by the batteries and to optimize the way the car carves a path through the air.
“Aerodynamics and lightweight design aren’t just important in the world of motor sport; they are also essential factors for maximizing electric range,” van Hooydonk said.
But away from the clinical engineering , the design team has also found time for some fun with the concept. Even though the car is clearly a Mini, it is also clearly striking with some brave uses of contrasting colors, a re-imagined nose complete with new grille and front apron. As a finishing touch, at the rear the tail lamp design has been inspired by the Union Jack flag.
The 2017 Frankfurt auto show opens its doors to the press on September 12 and to the public September 14-24. – AFP Relaxnews