Electric Mini Reportedly Still In The Works

1 year ago by Mark Kane 19

MINI E

Original MINI E

MINI Superleggera

MINI Superleggera

MotoringFile reports that MINI is working on a pure electric car.  Again.

Several years ago, with help of AC Propulsion, MINI launched a test fleet of hundreds MINI Es that were leased around the world, reportedly to collect data and usage metrics for the upcoming (at the time) BMW i3 project.

A little while after the MINI e test program, we then saw the handsome MINI Superleggera concept, but despite strong enthusiasm for the car, it seems production isn’t planned.

Now today we have Peter Schwarzenbauer, BMW board member, saying that MINI as an urban brand needs electric cars in the long run.

There is however still no specific car confirmed for production, and that works on an EV are currently in the planning stages.

“Much depends on progress in battery technology”

“Mini is the urban brand and long term, we will see a lot of electric mobility in the urban environment. Mini definitely needs one.”

Well, we are in 2016, not 2008 now. It’s more difficult to make excuses about battery technology today when some manufacturers already gearing up for 200-miles affordable EVs in less than a year’s time.

MINI is also in good position at the moment to move forward because as part of BMW, it can use a lot of the i3 drivetrain components to keep cost down.

source: MotoringFile.com

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19 responses to "Electric Mini Reportedly Still In The Works"

  1. Clive says:

    Okay good. Because I thought they had lost their minds just leaving the ballgame like they did.

  2. Ken says:

    I still think its kinda weird that my 2008 Mini E went 147 miles on a charge and was able to fully charge in 2.5 hrs (12kw) way back in 2009. But yet the oems act like 6.6kw charging and 24kwh packs is the best we can do (Mini E had a 35kwh pack). My car also went 15.9 at 88mph at the local drag strip in 2009. I really took a step backwards buying a Leaf in 2012. There hasn’t been an electric car as good as the Mini e yet other than the Tesla. A new Mini E woyld be great but lets keep the big pack and the 12kw charging that the 2008 model had. Im tired of small packs and 6.6 charging.

    1. vdiv says:

      Well-said! And the Mini E and the Active E were trial vehicles. What was apparently learned from them was not to give too much fun or the rest of BMW would be in serious trouble instantly.

      Tired of 6.6 kW charging? Ok, ok, here’s 7.4, maybe 😉

    2. Benjamin says:

      It was also a two-seater since the entire back passenger compartment was filled with batteries.

      1. 3laine says:

        Same point I was going to make, Benjamin. I would LOVE a MINI-E, but making a mass-produced one with 35kwh of capacity wasn’t feasible until now. Even the i3 with the underfloor battery is only now going to get a ~33kwh battery for 2017 without seriously compromising interior space. Now that better batter densities are available, maybe we’ll see a new MINI-E without the big compromise of the first one. Again, I’d love to have an original, too, but it wouldn’t work for mass production to have such a huge volume of the interior taken up with batteries.

      2. Ken says:

        I don’t understand why every one of our cars in the driveway need to have seven seats. I have a Geo Convertible, an older Vette, a pickup, a 23 T and a motorcyle in addition to the Leaf. They are all two seaters. The Leaf was the first car i bought with a back seat. Ideally, id have a Roadster with Supercharging capabilities if they ever get around to making one. I understand that some people have kids. But seriously, how many times to your kids ride to work with you? An electric car is a great commuter and 90% of the time that is what you are doing, commuting to work or school. When i drive down the road, it amazes me the number of vehicles with only one person in it. If you have kids, chances are theres a wife or at least a girlfriend. And she has a car too im sure. This isnt the 50s anymore families have more than one car. The person that works the furthesr away can drive the electric two (or one) seater back and forth to work every day. The one that works from home or has the kids most of the time can have the seven seater mega deluxe suv. You’re not taking the EV on a cross country roadtrip with all the family anyway unless its a Tesla so thats a poor excuse. I just think a two seater for the trip you make 5 days a week makes alot of sense. Save the seven seater for the weekend trips. If gas (or electric) was as expensive here as it is in the rest of the world, im sure more people would “settle for a small car or even a motorcycle/scooter. Ill be the first to admit that i loved my lifted Chevy 4×4 and Big block powered pickup but it just doesnt make financial or envirinmental sense to me anymore. The Mini E, Leaf, and iMiev have been my favorite vehicle ive owned so far. Even my converted Geo Metro Convertible has met my needs for a commuter.
        And 35kwh could have fit under the Mini E. The car was a conversion by AC propulsion and there just wasnt time to design it another way. The 35kwh pack was made of 5,088 18650 cells and wouldnt have taken up anymore room the the Leafs 24kwh pack. Give the engineers a little more time and it can fit without taking up all the interior space. I also don’t think the battery technology has changed dramatically since then either. The Mini E used the same 18650 cells that Tesla still uses in the Model S. The Mini E had an air cooled pack and that could be improved upon but other than that, add cruise control and a heated seat and ill buy my 2008 Mini E back right now if i could. I really miss my one year and 24,000 miles i was lucky enough to have the car. Those that criticize it most likely didn’t have one.

        1. 3laine says:

          Not every car has to have 7 seats, Ken. You took my statement and exaggerated it to the extreme. I own an R56 MINI (like the MINI-E) and an i3, so I completely agree that most people buy unnecessarily large cars based on stupid reasoning or nonsense what-ifs.

          In the real world, though, 2-sweaters are a small market. Additionally, EVs are a small market. The Venn diagram overlap of those two markets is significantly smaller still. Add to that the fact that the MINI E wasn’t a typical 2-seater with the advantages of sporty looks, convertible, etc. It was a 4-seater with a block of batteries eating up a huge interior volume.

          The i3 is reasonably MINI-sized, probably bigger, yet they could only fit 22kwh of battery into a car designed for it. I doubt they could have shoehorned that much into a MINI that was not designed for it at any sort of reasonable cost.

          I LOVE MINIs. We’ve taken family trips to the MINI events hundreds of miles from our house several times, amongst many other MINI events during our 7 years of MINI ownership. Our son came home from the hospital in a MINI shirt. We also own an i3. No one wants a mass-produced MINI-E more than we do (well, maybe someone, but not many :D). BUT, mass-producing a hardtop 4-seater with 2 of the seats full of batteries would be a terrible decision. A 2-seater Superleggera EV halo car? Sure. Not sure if I could justify buying one, but it makes some sense as a halo for the brand. A MINI hardtop 3/5-door or Clubman EV, though? One with the 33kwh battery of the refreshed i3? That could be a big seller, and I’d be in line for one as soon as it’s announced.

        2. Mister G says:

          Wow thanks for sharing. How much was it?

        3. Michel Volt says:

          well said Speculawyer. I heard so much about only 4 seats on the Volt . For my self i did have 2 extra persones with me in the car just 3 to 4 time since i owne it , so the fifth seat for me is not a big deal .
          Most critic come from people how will probably never buy one any way

    3. Bill Howland says:

      You would think that since AC propulsion is unlikely to sue itself for patent infrigement, that the battery charger would then be 1/3 of the size of the regeneration (its around 60 kw in the VOLTEC).

      I’d expect to see a 240 volt, 80 amp charging function in this car, utilizing the J1772 standard up to its limit, and also increasing sales of the Clipper Creek CC-100 wallbox, amoungst others.

    4. Clive says:

      I could live with a 147 miles i3 for damn sure.

    5. Bone says:

      Mini-E had 100 mile EPA range. Slightly less than 107 miles of 30kWh Leaf, that is way more spacious. Also, I have seen stories about horrible cold weather impact on Mini-E range.

      So, I wouldn’t call it the best non-Tesla BEV, but it surely was great effort at it’s time, and they should be able to do much better now.

    6. Speculawyer says:

      Well . . . the Mini-E was a heavily subsidized science experiment. It was not a car they were making money on. Tesla shows that fast-charging and large batteried EVs are possible . . . but it will cost you lots of money.

    7. jamcl3 says:

      Hey Ken, long time. You did 147 miles how many times, once? OK 120 miles in the winter was possible too, but I did not do it many times. At least our present EVs (we went for the Think since it was available sooner than the Leaf) have a heater that works, unlike the Mini E. And no problem charging from 240 VAC in the winter. By the way, Rodney at the U of Delaware figured out what that problem was with charging when the grid was above 240 VAC and fixed it. I did drive one of his Mini Es recently, that brought back memories.

      The problem with high power chargers is that “recommendation” in SAE J1772 is to limit the EVSE to about 30 amps unless you have an energy management system. That is the utilities being worried about overheated transformers, I guess. I would buy an energy management system if I could find one. More to make my hot water heater and EVSE track my solar panel output, but whatever.

  3. Nix says:

    The Mini Countryman would be better suited for carrying large batteries. More room for them, and the weight would be better distributed.

    Besides, every time there is a story about the Volt, somebody complains it is too small. So there is that.

  4. Peder says:

    As a Mini-E driver for 2.5 years, an ActiveE driver, and a current driver of a BMW i3 & a BMW i8, here’s what I would like from Santa for xmas 2017 🙂

    A 2 seat Mini-E Rocketman, 2000 lbs, 225 Hp electric motor, lot’s of carbon fiber, 100 mile EPA range, DC quick charging, and most of all….

    Keep it funky… 🙂

    1. Clive says:

      Absolutely.

      Now we are talking.

      You need to pop your i3 on some H&R’s /

    2. 3laine says:

      2 seats aren’t ideal for us, but I could probably make an exception for something that awesome! ?

  5. Speculawyer says:

    MINI Superleggera or bust.