The new Mini Electric has been revealed at the British brand’s Oxford factory, where the very first Mini was built 60 years ago.
Based on the same body shell as the regular three-door hatch, the electric version harks back to a concept car that was unveiled back in 2017 and is marked out by a number of special design cues, for example, an embossed Mini Electric logo appears on car’s side scuttles, as well as on the tailgate and front radiator grille.
And while the front grille features the hallmark hexagonal shape, it is nevertheless closed, as the car requires less cooling. According to the designers, this also contributes to improved aerodynamics, as do the enclosed undercarriage, the rear apron and the special 17-inch two-tone wheels, which are optional.
A charging plug is located above the right-hand rear wheel, where the petrol filler would normally be. Mini engineers claim at a 50 kW DC fast-charging station an 80 per cent charge is reached from zero in 35 minutes; the car gets both home and public charging cables as standard.
The battery pack itself has 12 modules of lithium-ion cells arranged in a T-shaped unit in the vehicle floor between the front seats and below the rear seats, providing a total capacity of 32.6 kWh.
The motor is the latest version of the synchronous electric motor developed by the BMW Group and provides a maximum output of 181 bhp and maximum torque of 199 lb-ft. As a result, the car accelerates to 62 mph in 7.3 seconds with top speed limited to 93 mph.
In accordance with new EU law, the car is additionally fitted with acoustic pedestrian protection for low speed driving, with a distinctive sound created especially for the car generated via a speaker system.
Chassis details, meanwhile, include a new suspension technology designed specifically for the electric model. The Mini Electric is also claimed to have a centre of gravity that is 30 mm lower than in the Mini Cooper S.
On the inside, the EV gets has a new digital dashboard with a 5.5-inch colour screen behind the steering wheel. Road speed is shown at the centre in figures with a peripheral scale band, as well as information on the charge level of the battery, the selected Mini Driving Mode (of which there are four), the status of the driver assistance systems and check control messages.
In terms of boot volume, the car retains the full 211 litres of the conventional-powered Mini hatch, expanding to 731 litres when the rear backrests are folded down.
Production of the Mini Electric at the Oxford plant will begin in late 2019, with first deliveries in March 2020.
“This plant builds 1000 cars per day, with a new Mini coming off the line every 67 seconds, so the integration gives excellent production flexibility and allows supplies of the new model to be adjusted according to demand,” says Plant Oxford managing director, Peter Weber.