Mini aims to become an all-electric brand at the beginning of the 2030s and for that to happen, the BMW Group company obviously needs to plan ahead. The automaker has already confirmed three EVs it will launch in the 2023–2024 interval.
Those are the next-gen Countryman coming in 2023 (also available with combustion engines), the Cooper SE successor expected in early 2024, and a small crossover coming in mid-2024. The latter two will be made in China on a dedicated EV architecture co-developed by the BMW Group and Great Wall Motor.
But wait, there’s more. In a November 3 press release about its future strategy, Mini also talks about a fourth vehicle that will sit alongside the successor to the current Countryman, and it all sounds like a done deal.
“Mini is working on the development of a new vehicle concept for the premium compact segment. This will meet the wishes of many customers for space and comfort, and increased variability. A host of creative solutions in this area were presented with the Mini Vision Urbanaut.”
Gallery: Mini Vision Urbanaut (2021)
The press release goes on to list the qualities of the all-electric Vision Urbanaut that make it a candidate for production, such as the “especially sustainable interior supporting versatile uses and the selection of materials and functionality.”
“The study transfers the typical Mini principle of creative use of space to the future of urban mobility. This vehicle concept therefore meets the claim to pack maximum driving fun, available space and individuality typical of Mini onto the smallest road footprint in the competitive environment.”
Come to think about it, an all-electric Mini MPV is not that far-fetched of an idea. VW is preparing to start production of its ID. Buzz and Canoo expects to roll out its Lifestyle Vehicle in late 2022. The Mini Urbanaut would make a great competitor for the latter, as they’re similarly sized at just under 4.5 meters (177.1 in)—the ID. Buzz is almost 4.94 meters (194.5 in) long in concept form.
Obviously, it’s too early to say when the Mini Urbanaut (if it will be called this way) will reach production, but one thing is almost certain: it will be all-electric. The concept is, and if that’s not a good enough reason, only an EV-dedicated platform can offer an interior as roomy as Mini wants it on a 4.45-meter (175.6-in) long vehicle.
Furthermore, Mini says its last combustion-engined model will launch in 2025 (development must have already started on that one), and that it expects EVs to make up 50 percent of its total global sales by 2027.