Mini Execs Reveal Details On Automakers First Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle

1 year ago by Eric Loveday 33

Mini Execs With Prototype PHEV Mini

Mini Execs With Prototype PHEV Mini

Just a week ago, BMW Group CEO Harald Krueger confirmed that Mini was indeed working on a plug-in vehicle for eventual production.

Now we what Mini has in the works.

Mini Countryman PHEV

Mini Countryman PHEV

Unfortunately, it’s not a pure electric car that Mini is developing, but rather a plug-in hybrid.

At least it seems the Mini PHEV will be capable of running at high speeds in pure electric mode, but there’s no official word on range for now, so we’ll wait until that’s reveal before passing judgement on Mini’s first PHEV.

The details on the PHEV performance of the Mini, as provided in the press release:

“The hybrid MINI makes full use of the electric motor’s entire torque, which is available right from standstill, allowing for catapult-like acceleration. Even after leaving the slower pace of the city, this vehicle maintains its zero-tailpipe emissions at motorway speeds. The high-voltage battery under the rear seats provides power for long-lasting electric driving. AUTO eDRIVE standard mode permits speeds of up to 80 km/h, whilst in MAX eDRIVE mode speeds of up to 125 km/h are possible. For Mackensen this is a question of character: “In a hybrid MINI model, driving electrically must also be an exhilarating experience. This means that entirely electric driving is not limited to speeds of 30 or 40 km/h, but to speeds well beyond city traffic pace.”

Mini Countryman PHEV Prototype

Mini Countryman PHEV Prototype

The press release is purposely vague, but we do believe that the vehicle being discussed is a PHEV Countryman with these previously reported specs:

  • Plug-in hybrid system overall output of 165 kW (224 hp)
  • Maximum electric range is ~41 kilometers (25 miles) on the NEDC test cycle
  • Acceleration is rated at 0-100 km/h (0-62 MPH) in 6.7 seconds
  • 7.6 kWh battery

And just in case you were wondering, Mini says that this PHEV car retains all of the characteristics expected of the Mini brand, including go kart-like handling:

“Testing the vehicle himself, Mackensen puts the car through its paces and demonstrates that you need to step on the accelerator peddle very firmly indeed to activate the second power source. Then things really start happening. With the combined output of both drives, the first MINI hybrid vehicle demonstrates unparalleled acceleration performance when compared with its combustion-only siblings.”

“However, MINI’s go-kart driving characteristics consists of more than just fast acceleration. Above all, this hybrid MINI has to prove how precisely it handles when taking bends on the most exciting, twisting roads. This is where MINI’s plug-in hybrid concept plays its next trump card. “As far as the chassis and suspension are concerned, nothing changes from the conventionally driven model variants”, says Wolf, “and the set-up benefits a lot from the hybrid concept”. Thanks to the eDrive components, which are positioned very low down at the rear, the car’s centre of gravity is lowered and the weight is evenly balanced between the front and rear axle – ideal for achieving an even higher level of legendary MINI agility.”

If previous reports prove to be true, then Mini will launch this PHEV Countryman in 2018. No pricing information is known at this point in time.

Check out the full press blast below for additional details on Mini’s first plug-in hybrid.

Charging ahead – The MINI goes electric.

Head of MINI brand management Sebastian Mackensen and Head of MINI series management Peter Wolf preview the first plug-in hybrid model by the British premium brand.

Munich. Hallmark MINI driving fun combined with zero tailpipe emissions. With the introduction of the first plug-in hybrid model by the British premium brand, this will soon be a reality. The series development process for this car has almost been completed. It features a combustion engine and an electric motor enabling purely electric propulsion for the first time in a MINI. This marks the beginning of a new phase for MINI, and offers a glimpse into a future that is charged with excitement for MINI customers and those drivers yet to experience the thrill of a hybrid.

Head of MINI brand management Sebastian Mackensen and Head of MINI series management Peter Wolf offer insight into this new near-series test vehicle, and explain how it retains go-kart feeling in the true spirit of a MINI during a test drive of this model.

“With this model we want to convince MINI customers of the benefits of hybrid drive”, says Mackensen, “and impress everyone who already has hybrid driving experience with MINI’s unique go-kart driving feel.” The key to achieving this lies in intelligent energy management which is used to control how the combustion engine and electric motor operate together. For this reason, the first MINI plug-in hybrid model is not solely focused on efficiency, but uncompromising in pursuit of driving fun.

At first glance, you wouldn’t recognise the test car as a hybrid model. And that’s not because of the camouflage foil used. The charging socket for the high-voltage battery is discreetly integrated in the left Side Scuttle. Everything also looks familiar in the cockpit. The start/stop button in the centre of the dashboard glows yellow instead of red. As usual, you simply press the button to start the car – this vehicle, however, remains silent as the hybrid model always starts in electric mode. The rpm counter in the instrument cluster on the steering column has been replaced with a power display. Keeping a close eye on this display is particularly worthwhile for the first few kilometres as it informs the driver about the electric motor’s power reserves before the combustion engine fires up. When exactly the combustion engine starts varies depending upon on the vehicle’s speed and the intensity with which the driver operate the accelerator pedal.

“After a short time, the driver gets a feel for this”, promises Wolf. And this new driving experience promises a lot of driving fun. The hybrid MINI makes full use of the electric motor’s entire torque, which is available right from standstill, allowing for catapult-like acceleration. Even after leaving the slower pace of the city, this vehicle maintains its zero-tailpipe emissions at motorway speeds. The high-voltage battery under the rear seats provides power for long-lasting electric driving. AUTO eDRIVE standard mode permits speeds of up to 80 km/h, whilst in MAX eDRIVE mode speeds of up to 125 km/h are possible. For Mackensen this is a question of character: “In a hybrid MINI model, driving electrically must also be an exhilarating experience. This means that entirely electric driving is not limited to speeds of 30 or 40 km/h, but to speeds well beyond city traffic pace.”

Testing the vehicle himself, Mackensen puts the car through its paces and demonstrates that you need to step on the accelerator peddle very firmly indeed to activate the second power source. Then things really start happening. With the combined output of both drives, the first MINI hybrid vehicle demonstrates unparalleled acceleration performance when compared with its combustion-only siblings.

However, MINI’s go-kart driving characteristics consists of more than just fast acceleration. Above all, this hybrid MINI has to prove how precisely it handles when taking bends on the most exciting, twisting roads. This is where MINI’s plug-in hybrid concept plays its next trump card. “As far as the chassis and suspension are concerned, nothing changes from the conventionally driven model variants”, says Wolf, “and the set-up benefits a lot from the hybrid concept”. Thanks to the eDrive components, which are positioned very low down at the rear, the car’s centre of gravity is lowered and the weight is evenly balanced between the front and rear axle – ideal for achieving an even higher level of legendary MINI agility.

The Hybrid concept provides yet another benefit: the electric motor transmits its power to the rear wheels, the combustion engine to the front wheels. Since the intelligent energy management is linked to the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), traction and drive stability are optimised via the drive system. “As soon as there is any risk of drive slip, the second drive unit is activated to provide additional traction when starting off or ensuring a high level of steering precision when cornering”, explains Wolf.

Intelligent energy management offers a further opportunity for both power sources to work together effectively. Driving on the motorway, Mackensen activates a third mode with the eDrive toggle switch: SAVE BATTERY. In this mode, the combustion engine powers the car whilst at the same time, the high voltage battery can retain charge at a constant level or indeed increase charge via a generator. Extended driving in SAVE BATTERY mode enables enough power generation for purely electric driving later.

After driving in SAVE BATTERY mode, the MINI drives back into town in silence at the end of the test drive. The status display in the cockpit reminds the driver to recharge the battery via wallbox or power socket. Refuelling is not necessary yet because the MINI plug-in hybrid model merely took a small sip from the fuel tank. Yet another new dimension of MINIMALISM.

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33 responses to "Mini Execs Reveal Details On Automakers First Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle"

  1. MikeG says:

    Ooooh, a hybrid. These execs are gushing over old technology and pretending that it is the future tech of automobiles.

    1. Trollnonymous says:

      +1

    2. JIMIJON says:

      They’re Addicted to oil money..Bad $$ Money $$ Habits are hard to break…

    3. mx says:

      Better than a plain old gas engine

      1. franky_b says:

        +1

        My girlfriend would be a good candidate, she likes Minis, she doesn’t want to worry about range and she would reduce here carbone foot print by 50% to 70%.

  2. Ct200h says:

    Now now, this is good news and will be a compelling product that will entice buyers to try out ” plugging in”

    Great power and the range of an ice for convenience
    For many This step will lead to an EV!

    Great move mini now bring it to the us as well

    1. KUD says:

      We have a product like this it’s called the Chevy Volt. Twice the range and available now.

      1. franky_b says:

        Some people don’t buy a car for the drive train, they buy it for the look, the styling, the interior and the practibility.

        More options are good.

    2. Bob says:

      Yes, but starting in 2018 (at the earliest) is kind of too late.

      1. franky_b says:

        No, never too late to reduce your carbon foot print.

        Not everyone will jump in BEV, PHEV have their place during this transition phase.

  3. krona2k says:

    “7.6 kWh battery”

    Oh dear.

    1. David S. says:

      “The rpm counter in the instrument cluster on the steering column has been replaced with a power display. Keeping a close eye on this display is particularly worthwhile for the first few kilometres as it informs the driver about the electric motor’s power reserves before the combustion engine fires up. When exactly the combustion engine starts varies depending upon on the vehicle’s speed and the intensity with which the driver operate the accelerator pedal.”

      Talk about anxiety! 🙂

  4. wavelet says:

    wow, a clown car… It’s completely ridiculous trying to fit a PHEV drivetrain in such a small car. The non-plugin subcompact hybrids like the Yaris or Jazz (Fit) are pretty bad already…
    BMW seem determined to prove they’re anti-real-EV (yet another car with insufficient AER for avg daily mileage).

    1. Bob says:

      Actually not a small car… 🙂

      1. bogdan says:

        right, it’s a mini car!

  5. David Murray says:

    A 20 mile PHEV is still better than 99% of the cars on the road.

    1. DonC says:

      +1. Not for me personally but no idea why folks here don’t recognize your wisdom.

      1. Anon says:

        Because not everyone is a “Settler”. Settling for something slightly better, rather than fantastically better, is OK with some folks.

        Others, have their reservations already in on a Tesla Model 3, and don’t care that BMW is making lame Half-A’d Hybrids that still directly burn fossil fuels.

        Exxon loves ’em, I guess… But Fk Exxon and their soulless ilk.

        1. Spider-Dan says:

          This “lesser of two evils” talk is the same reason why plugins are currently 1% of the market.

          The planet would not be better off if the Prius had never been invented. Every gallon of gas we can save today is a gallon that would otherwise not be saved.

  6. mxs says:

    Better than nothing …. but I will not make me get rid of my current 09 Mini. Especially not, if it’s only available in 2 years time.

    Plus, they need to make it available all across the board, not just for the more expensive Countryman.

  7. Bill Howland says:

    A little bit of a ho-hum here, but for people who are addicted to minis its great as long as the price premium isn’t too much and they sell more than a few.

    I was very skeptical of former EV Hater Johann DeNyschen’s willingness to really make the Cadillac CT6 PHEV, but various sources tell me it will be released either by the end of the year or early 2017.

    This Caddy will break the mold in that, rather than making the SMALLEST car electrified, it will be an Electric product in GM’s LARGEST passenger car. And with an 18.4 kwh battery, it will allow drivers to actually go somewhere totally electrically. They are claiming 30 miles, but my ELR is rated 37 (old 2014 model), and in fall weather I regularly get over 50.

    Other than Renault (to its credit), euro car manufacturers seem stuck on microscopic batteries. The world won’t come to an end if they put a (heaven forbid!) 10 kwh thing in there.

  8. Just_Chris says:

    This story really shows how the EV car world is starting to diversify. Mini are coming out with a 20 mile PHEV whilst Renault are coming out with a 40kWh Zoe. It’s good to have some choice but mini has really squandered a massive lead if this is all that they can offer 2 years from now.

    WRT the sub 10 kWh PHEV’s.

    If we have a flood of PHEV’lites that are reasonably priced are starting to get to the point where we can ban conventional cars? I’d be really happy if a PHEV with a sub 10 kWh battery was considered a gas guzzler.

  9. Trollnonymous says:

    This might have been a good idea today, but for 2018??????

    1. mr. M says:

      2018 == today for car industry product cycles. If they intend to start selling it in 2018, there is only one round of minimal tweaks left until they do the whole testing.

  10. mike says:

    What happened to the Mini Rocket Man BEV Concept?

    1. mr. M says:

      shhhh… that is to be revealed later. Don’t spill all the beans at the same moment. 😀

  11. Bob Nan says:

    Goodness they chose Countryman which is a Crossover and this is the best selling segment in USA, EU and China.

    They have to set an affordable price since the buyers of PHEVs are very sensitive to price.
    Also they should reduce the price of Mini Countryman to the level as other similar CUVs.

    It sells at the rate of only 1,000 units / month. Guess how much the Plugin version will sell in that model.

    1. mr. M says:

      100-400 units/month, depending on the price.

  12. Robert Utess says:

    In my mind there is no point in a hybrid. If I`m going to drive a ICE car I will keep driving my Hemi powered Dodge Challenger. At least I will enjoy the drive.

  13. tftf says:

    Why can’t there be more E-models coming?

    PHEV by 2018 and BEV by 2020+?

    At least that’s how I understood the news cycle from BMW.

    The PHEV version for 2018 was far along in development already (car development cycles take years, as others mentioned).

  14. Koenigsegg says:

    Complete idiots. They had the Mini-E in 2009 which was amazing and now 9 years later they’ll come out with a mere plug in.

    Absolutely ridiculous.

    1. Clive says:

      Poor Mini is talking huge back steps, and Mini steps forward.