Mini Cooper Electric Test Mule Spied For First Time


The Mini Electric Concept made its world debut at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show back in September and now we’re getting our first look at it, albeit in boring test mule form, out in the wild.

Mini has yet to release specs on the upcoming Cooper Electric, but the automaker did state the following in regards to when we’ll see the production version of this car:

A production version of the MINI ELECTRIC CONCEPT will be unveiled in 2019.

Until then, take a gander at these spy shots of the Mini electric test mule and let us know if you catch anything revealing in the images.

Mini Cooper Test Mule

Mini Cooper Test Mule

Mini Cooper Test Mule

Mini Cooper Test Mule

Mini Cooper Test Mule

Production of the plug-in MINI will take place in Oxford, UK, while the drive-train will be produced at BMW’s Dingolfing and Landshut sites in Germany.

Images: Automedia

For some additional background, here’s Mini’s debut release on the Cooper Electric Concept (including images of the concept car).


Mini Electric Concept – Image Credit: InsideEVs

Debut of the MINI ELECTRIC CONCEPT – fully-electric, iconic design and exciting driving dynamics +++ Taut, clean cut surfaces produce a minimalist impression +++ World premiere at IAA Cars 2017, Frankfurt, public display from Saturday 16th September +++ Production version will be unveiled in 2019 +++ Concept follows introduction of the first electrified production MINI, the MINI Countryman Plug-in Hybrid

Debut of the MINI ELECTRIC CONCEPT – fully-electric, iconic design and exciting driving dynamics
Taut, clean cut surfaces produce a minimalist impression
World premiere at IAA Cars 2017, Frankfurt, public display from Saturday 16th September
Production version will be unveiled in 2019
Concept follows introduction of the first electrified production MINI, the MINI Countryman Plug-in Hybrid
Almost 10 years after MINI E laid the foundations for production-standard battery electric vehicles within the BMW Group, MINI is now offering a window on the future of urban electric mobility. With a focus on driving excitement and inspiring design, it moves the brand’s urban tradition into the electric age and in doing so spices up the conventional notion of electric mobility. A production version of the MINI ELECTRIC CONCEPT will be unveiled in 2019.

The MINI ELECTRIC CONCEPT will debut at IAA Cars 2017 in Frankfurt, and be on public display from Saturday 16th September. This debut follows the launch of the brand’s first ever electrified production model, the MINI Countryman Plug-in Hybrid earlier in 2017.

“The systematic electrification of the brand and product portfolio is a mainstay of the BMW Group’s NUMBER ONE > NEXT strategy. The MINI ELECTRIC CONCEPT offers a thrilling preview of the all-electric production vehicle. MINI and electrification make a perfect match,” remarked Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG.

An innovative, zero-emissions solution to the current challenges facing personal mobility, the MINI ELECTRIC CONCEPT combines a drive system that is always quick off the mark with a precision-tuned suspension. The drivetrain and performance characteristics offer an enthralling drive on both city streets and country roads that is typical of the MINI product range.

Mini Electric Concept – Image Credit: InsideEVs

The perfectly streamlined design provides an optimal balance between agility and weight, enabling the MINI ELECTRIC CONCEPT to offer a maximised range in combination with the brand’s unique driving dynamics.

“With its characteristic go-kart feel and powerful electric motor, the MINI ELECTRIC CONCEPT is great fun to drive while also being completely suitable for everyday use – and producing zero emissions to boot. That’s how we at MINI envisage electric mobility in tomorrow’s world,” said Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad.

MINI – blazing a trail for electric mobility at the BMW Group.

It has been nearly ten years since MINI took an important and pioneering step and laid the foundation for developing electric mobility to production standard at the BMW Group with the MINI E. Unveiled in 2008, the MINI E was the first all-electric car from the BMW Group to be driven by private users in everyday traffic conditions as part of an extensive field trial. Over 600 MINI E cars entered service worldwide for the field study which provided vital insights into the daily use of all-electric cars. The learnings from this trial were subsequently incorporated into the development of the BMW i3.

In spring 2017, the BMW Group presented the first ever production plug-in hybrid model from the British premium brand in the form of the MINI Countryman Plug-in Hybrid.

Since its UK launch in June 2017, the MINI Countryman Plugin-Hybrid has impressed customers with its combination of versatility, handling and the option of zero local emissions. The all-electric MINI ELECTRIC CONCEPT ties in seamlessly with the story so far.

Unmistakably MINI – the design.

Mini Electric Concept – Image Credit: InsideEVs

“The MINI ELECTRIC CONCEPT is a quintessential MINI – compact, agile, simply the perfect companion for everyday driving. At the same time, it conveys a whole new take on the concept of sportiness,” explained Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design.

“For aerodynamics and lightweight design aren’t just important in the world of motor sport; they are also essential factors for maximising the electric range. The surfaces furthermore have a sense of precision and contemporary clarity about them that gives added impact to the car’s efficient character. In addition to this, the striking accents and vivid contrasts give the exterior that distinctive MINI twist.”

The new MINI Electric concept is instantly recognisable from the front by its hexagonal radiator grille and circular headlights. Identifying features on the exterior include the contrasting silver and yellow colour scheme that is reminiscent of the earlier MINI E, as well as the distinctive E badge.

In addition, the radiator grille and front headlights have been reinterpreted to reflect the emission-free technology under the bonnet. As the electric drive unit does not require any cooling air, the radiator grille is closed for superior aerodynamics. An accent bar in Striking Yellow in the grille with an E badge in the same colour produces a powerful contrasting effect, which is echoed by the styling of the daytime running lights in the all-LED headlight assemblies. The front apron’s simulated “air intakes” are also sealed, yet they still include dark louvres that look like cooling fins.

All additional exterior design features have been specially developed to both highlight the dynamic driving character of the MINI ELECTRIC CONCEPT while at the same time increasing its range with their optimised aerodynamics.

Mini Electric Concept – Image Credit: InsideEVs

Clearly moulded fibreglass add-on parts along the lower edge of the electric MINI concept serve to intensify the stylish MINI proportions. The car’s silhouette is composed of taut, clean-cut surfaces which produce a minimalist impression. Short overhangs and the characteristic MINI stance on the wheels instil the brand’s trademark dynamics. The paint finish is Reflection Silver – a matt liquid metal colour shade.

The technical appearance of the car’s sides has been softened with a series of material and colour highlights. An eye-catching E badge above the front wheel is another defining feature to highlight the electric power source. Its shiny finish within the otherwise matt exterior paintwork creates different effects depending on how it catches the light. The interplay between matt and high-gloss surfaces within a shared colour scheme results in a modern look. As well as the badge in the radiator grille, the exterior mirror caps also sport MINI E badges. Colour gradients incorporated into both the side skirts and roof using the accent colour, Striking Yellow, create a unique side profile. The roof goes from matt white to high-gloss yellow, while the yellow finish of the side skirts fades at the top until becoming transparent so that it appears to merge into the body colour. The colour transitions give the car a lighter, fresher and more sophisticated presence while the new Striking Yellow shade provides a new take on the classic yellow colour for the electric MINI.

MINI Electric Concept
From the back the new MINI electric concept is still recognisable as a distinctive MINI design, with a side sporty stance. The top section is dominated by clear surfaces, and takes on a far more dynamic aspect the nearer it gets to the road.

MINI’s familiar approach of cascading, where the car’s volume steadily increases from the top down, creates broad and athletic shoulders. The rear light assemblies constitute yet another standout visual feature and provide a clear pointer to the car’s British roots: framed within the classic MINI outline, they each form one half of the Union Jack as an LED dot matrix

Further down, in the rear apron there are more aerodynamic elements similar to those at the front, including air deflectors and a fibreglass diffuser. These reinforce the car’s efficient dynamism on both a visual and a functional level. There is also a yellow accent stripe that provides a striking colour contrast while also announcing the presence of an electric drive system from the rear, something which is further underlined by the lack of exhaust pipes and the dark louvred surfaces in the simulated air outlets.

Innovative 3D printing.

The aerodynamic inlays were made using a 3D printing process and echo the fibreglass structure of the air deflectors. The recessed louvred surfaces in the air intakes were also produced using a 3D printing method. These two elements emphasise the lightweight and ground-breaking character of the MINI ELECTRIC CONCEPT, while at the same time illustrating the opportunities offered by 3D printing in terms of producing small-run or individually personalised parts.

Destined for production.

Sophisticated and efficiently dynamic, the MINI ELECTRIC CONCEPT encapsulates MINI’s near-term vision of an all-electric car designed for modern urban mobility. A production version of the MINI ELECTRIC CONCEPT will be unveiled in 2019.

Categories: Mini, Spy Photos


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29 Comments on "Mini Cooper Electric Test Mule Spied For First Time"

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(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

They already had a concept/mule/science project. Dr Lyle Dennis had one and wrote about his experiences on it at the beginning.

How many times do they need to do this???????

Enough to not release a “Beta” car, as another known manufacturer.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

So a Glacial pace advancement and STILL IN CONCEPT form today is much better.

Boy good thing you’re not in charge of any EV advancements. We’d still be using FLA’s Tojans.

“They already had a concept/mule/science project. Dr Lyle Dennis had one and wrote about his experiences on it at the beginning.”

Yeah, that was my immediate reaction to the headline. Mini has shown an all-electric prototype before; why is this “news”?

Here’s an InsideEVs news article from 3 months ago:

“MINI Electric Concept Featured In Video Interview With Design Boss”

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

2009 a kWh lithium-ion battery was >$1,000. It didn’t make sense to bring it to the market back then, it does now.

The 1st MINI-E was converted by ACPropulsion who also inspired Tesla with their T-Zero. So the 1st one had 18650 cells, variable REGEN and V2G Vehicle To GRID.

I hope the new one is as good. The i3 is well made with good battery Thermal management so this one should be well connected.

Hopefully, this Mini-e has a back seat!

In some of the other spy photos (these are only a few of ~35 photos), you can see it has a back seat this time.

I couldn’t imagine it not having one this time around, but it’s good to see one there as confirmation, anyway!

saw my first plug in mini today.

Do you guys/gals think this can comfortably seat two adults, no more than 5’4″ in height, at the back.

Define comfortably …. by my definition, no, it cannot. Can you drive such adults from A to B without hurting them? Yes, you can.

Someone who is 5’4″ could absolutely be comfortable in the back of one. The tall, flat roof means plenty of headroom, too. With my wife sitting in front of me (5’6″), I can sit in the back of our previous generation Cooper comfortably and I’m 6’1″. We’ve even done long trips with 3 adults in ours, where someone 6’+ sat back there for hundreds of miles.

That said, the more important question is ingress/egress. An elderly person would be comfortable in the back, for instance, but getting in and out would probably be a deal-breaker.

Occasionally putting adults back there that don’t mind climbing in and out? Sure.

Frequently putting adults back there or people with mobility/strength issues? Probably not advisable. You could go check out a regular gas MINI Cooper 3-door hardtop to try it out if you’re so inclined.

Good to know. It’s just that without TMS, I’m still not sure about the Leaf and I’m sure my wife and daughter will enjoy driving a Mini more than a Leaf. If I can’t get them to drive the BEV, then what’s the point of buying one when they are the ones who keep going out. 🙂

It will be another 3+ years before you can actually order one.

Sorry BMW, could not wait for you any longer …. will give you a look after my lease is done. Good luck … LOL

They’re still saying 2019 availability, last I checked.

Yeah … In one country, through waiting list, I am guessing. Seriously, I doubt they will have more than 5K units worldwide.

First thoughts:

It has a back seat!

The mule doesn’t have the Union Jack taillights. Probably not indicative of the production version, but just something I noticed.

More comments:

Interestingly, the camo is not the same between the car on the carrier and the car in the snow. A couple notable differences:

-The 4 “spots” in the camo below the mirrors: They don’t match.

-The one on the car carrier has significantly more area of camo above the rear wheel arch.

Either these are two different cars OR the car had the camo removed and new camo applied, it seems.

Also, the rear bumper looks to have 2 reflectors (a la Cooper S), but no center exhaust cutout. Might already have production style bumpers?

Why the partial camouflage on the car? Does anybody really care what the exact shape of the body is, when it’s so obviously just a minor variant on the current Mini Cooper body style? Is Mini really worried somebody else is going to copy their style?

I think this is yet another case where the auto maker has put camouflage on a car to attract media attention, rather than to actually hide details of the car’s styling!

Just my opinion; I could be wrong.

I get your point, to some extent, but it does look like it may already have new bumpers and not just some stolen from other MINIs. For example, the rear bumper looks to have 2 rear reflectors like a Cooper S, but no center exhaust cutout in the bumper.

So, while the design may not be groundbreaking, they may just want to wait to show the world on their terms.

New bumpers, reason to camouflage a car? …. Sounds to me that it’s rather OR attention getter.

Or maybe be the newly designed bumpers explain the massive delay bringing it to production?

“Or maybe be the newly designed bumpers explain the massive delay bringing it to production?”

😆 😆 😆

Thanks for the belly-laugh, Mxs!

I have this mental image of an auto maker spokesman trying to deliver the line “It took us years to get the bumpers just right!” with a straight face. 😉

They had to put all that pointless camouflage and even write “electric test vehicle” on it so people would notice it… That’s really sad 🙁

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous


Dang; you said that so much better than I did! 😉

3 door vehicles sell at a very low volume and why is BMW planning to sell electric vehicle of that model. BMW is more interested in plugins rather than electrics.

Ideally they should stop the retro design of Mini and start introducing latest design models with more electric versions.

Well, I hope they can make it work. The original Mini EV test fleet participants reported that they were a ton of fun to drive!

Anyone know or heard estimates/rumors about specs, esp. battery capacity & range? It’s a pretty small car to base a conversion on.

The 2009 Mini-E (based on the Mini Cooper), was very heavy (500kg more than the 1150kg ICE, which a huge difference in such a small car). Pack had 28kWh usable (instead of the rear seats), range ~100mi.

I hope they manage something decent with 120-150mi range without reducing passenger or cargo volume (which is already tiny in the ICE).