MINI Exec Says Going Electric Is Proving To Be A Challenge

JUN 18 2018 BY STEVEN LOVEDAY 35

It comes as no surprise that MINI is finding it difficult to fit batteries into its upcoming electric variant.

The upcoming MINI E could arguably be the perfect electric city car. It’s small and athletic, has a distinctive facade, and offers reasonable passenger space in its premium interior. However, according to MINI brand boss Peter Schwarzenbauer, suiting it up for all-electric propulsion is proving quite challenging due to its size.

Schwarzenbauer said that the MINI lineup’s tiny footprint makes these cars some of the most difficult to electrify. This is especially true when we’re talking about fully-electric powertrains rather than plug-in hybrids. Finding suitable space for the larger battery pack in an electric MINI is next to impossible. However, the automaker is moving forward as planned. He shared:

Electrifying Mini is quite a challenge, chiefly because of the small footprint of the cars.

 

But if you look at the role of electrification in the urban environment and the desire to be local emissions-free, there is no other brand with the credentials of Mini. It should be a natural fit, and that is the direction we’re moving towards for the future.

 

The success of the plug-in hybrid Countryman shows what can be achieved, and the full electric Mini that is coming will show another step.

The MINI boss went on to discuss the company’s new joint venture to manufacture the upcoming electric MINI in China. To date, MINIs have never been produced outside of Europe. Creating a joint venture allows the automaker to satisfy China’s current electric and new energy vehicle regulations. Essentially, the rules require that a specified percentage of the car’s parts must be sourced and manufactured within the country.

Source: Autocar

Categories: Mini

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35 Comments on "MINI Exec Says Going Electric Is Proving To Be A Challenge"

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I don’t know.. I mean, Fiat managed to fit 24Kwh in the tiny Fiat 500e back in 2013. So, it seems to me that with modern chemistries they should be able to get 30 to 40 Kwh into a Mini-cooper. I think as long as the driving range is somewhere between 125 and 150 miles, it should be fine. After all, a mini-cooper isn’t exactly the first choice for a long road-trip even in the gas version.

Mark.ca

Excuses excuses…even the ice Golf could fit 35kWh.

dan

The Mini is significantly smaller than a Golf.

WARREN

Exactly what I was thinking.

Mark.ca

The longest Mini is 158″ and the Golf is 167.6″
I’m parking next to one at work everyday but you are right, even though it doesn’t seem so visually, the Mini is shorter.

NeilBlanchard

It is easier / better if you start with an EV designed from the ground up. I hope they can get a decent pack size, and keep the interior space of the ICE version.

John M

Choosing the Mini as the car to electrify is the typical management that doesn’t know anything about engineering decision.

Clive

But they had a Mini E and people have waited a long time for this.

John M

Yes, but any decent range, decent driving EV needs a big battery down low, which the standard Mini format does not allow for.

Chris

The 2008 Mini E supposedly had a range of 100 miles. They could easily convert a Countryman which is larger.

John M

Yep, the Countryman would be much easier than the Mini.

eject

The actual issue is keeping the seating low so that it still feels like a kart. So you can’t have batteries where people sit. Which in the MINI is basically the whole length of you subtract a safety zone from the front and back. The Zoe and the Smart also suffer from being a bit to high.

Sustainable2020

No excuses for mini…they gave us a tease bev mini nearly a decade ago to “research” such problems

krona2k

Renault fit 40kwh in the Zoe, now that’s impressive!

eject

But you easily sit 15cm higher in the Zoe than in the MINI

Surya

Yes, and? I like the position in the Zoe

Senna

*facepalm*

eject

They want to build a MINI not a copy of the Zoe. The point of the MINI is that you sit down low in a small car.

Supercharger

I think they need to start from scratch instead of trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Pretty much every attempt to make an existing ICE car into an EV has resulted in poor range and unimaginative use of space.

Bob

Maybe easier to keep the i3 skateboard/drivetrain and make a new steel passenger pod that resembles a mini to stick on top of it…..or just chop the top of the current i3 CFRP passenger pod and call it the next evolution of the mini cooper with rear wheel drive and advanced CFRP frame…..if they are planning a 140 mile i3 by 2019, a 160 mile variant by 2020 shouldn’t be too far of a stretch?

Lou Grinzo

Not a surprise. The primary hurdle for making 200+ mile EVs was battery price. But as that continues to decline (read:plummet), it exposes the next hurdle: the sheer volume of the pack. I’ve been predicting for some time that as batteries get cheaper it would push car companies toward [1] wheels-up fresh EV designs or [2] conversions of larger cars, e.g. Honda does a Civic or Accord instead of a longer range Fit.

Doug Bostrom

It doesn’t seem as though they’ve had any problem bloating “Minis” up to this point. What’s another few cubic feet over an actual Mini?

William

The next possible incarnation of the 40 kWh EV “Minis”, may potentially suffer from “another few cubic feet” of “problem bloating”, “over an actual Mini.”

These new Bloated Minis, could still be quite popular, if they arrive on time, among the Fiat 500e faithful.

Nix

Ditch the current ICE based Mini platform, build a new platform from the floor up. Base the width and wheelbase on the required battery pack size that has to fit under the floor. Build the rest of the car outwards from there.

They just have to stop trying to make the ICE and the EV based on the same chassis.

eject

Then it’s not a MINI but a flow size car.

Twonius

AYFKM?
The chevy bolt has a nearly identical footprint to a mini cooper.
Really? BMW can’t handle what GM did 2 years ago?

The bolt is overall longer but the wheelbases are within 3″ and the pack lives between the wheels. You could even go with a little smaller pack probably, 238 is a lot of range for a city car.
comment image

eject

How tall is the seat in a Bolt?

PatR

I guess you’v never seen a mini IRL. It’s much smaller than an volt. And especially lower.

John M

The Mini is 1.4 meters high, while the Bolt is 1.6 meters . Why don’t you try drawing a Mini with those dimensions and post the result here?

drpawansharma

Of course it is difficult, but if you listen to TeslaHaters you would realise that existing car makers could easily crush EVs any time they wanted.

eject

Tesla doesn’t build a Mini. In fact they only build super sized cars that have no issue fitting a large battery.

silversod

I find it hard to believe they haven’t found a way to get at least 40Kwh into the BMW mini, compared to the original mini this modern mini is HUGE. https://imgur.com/u95EEz5

Taylor Marks

What happened to all the bravado? The legacy automakers love talking up how experienced they are at making cars and how building an EV will be easy.

If they’re suddenly admitting that it’s a challenge, I wonder if this means they’re not long for the world?

mxs

That’s obviously a load of corporate BS … I used to have Mini Cooper S parked in my small garage, where I am parking now Kia Soul EV … essentially the same footprint.

So either BMW cannot do what KIa engineers were able to do since 2014, I believe, or simply BMW thinks we all need 85kWh battery in small city vehicles, so they are waiting and waiting and waiting …. while we are driving and driving different cars. Works for me certainly … different kind of fun.

Chris

This vehicle is supposed to be in production in November 2019, so one would expect they have this figured out by now.