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Designed to be accessible and approachable for the traditional car owner, the MINI Electric looks poised to make the jump to an electrified future.

06 Feb 2020

The first ever MINI Electric is a bold new step for the brand - an all electric hatchback that promises to deliver sensible and practical urban mobility with zero tailpipe emissions. Taking such a bold step forward expectedly brings with it all manner of challenges. 

Through the development process of the MINI Electric, several key considerations have been deliberated to ensure that the new model is put in the best position to succeed. We spoke to two experts, Michael Krauss, Development Powertrain and Elena Eder, Project Manager, to learn more about how the MINI Electric was conceived, and why we should be truly excited about this car.

1. Streamlined production

The MINI Electric is produced at Plant Oxford alongside the Cooper 3-Door
Arguably, the biggest challenge in designing the MINI Electric was to ensure that the production process was as unchanged from the other MINI models as possible. This has practical reasons, of course. According to Krauss, the car's electric powertrain was designed around the existing mechanical architecture of the Cooper 3-Door.

As such, the car can be produced on the same production line alongside the Cooper 3-Door, which helps save on production costs. And, as the car largely utilises the same body panels and components as the Cooper 3-Door, this also affords MINI the ability to scale up production if necessary.

2. Unmistakable character

The MINI Electric retains the brand's trademark design and styling
One look and you know this is a MINI. And, that is entirely the point. As Eder explained to us, one of the primary design considerations was to make the car as unchanged as possible.

Thus, the car has the same interior configuration and space as the Cooper 3-Door, and is also offered with the same personalisation options that you find across the MINI brand. You can even option to the delete the yellow accents. And, of course, a notable part of a MINI's appeal is how it looks, and the MINI Electric certainly looks the part.

3. Recognisable behaviour

On the road, the MINI Electric is immediately familiar to drive
Out on the road, the MINI Electric is most striking in how ordinary it feels - it drives just like a MINI. Yes, the 'one-pedal' feel is available with the high regeneration setting, but especially in the low regeneration setting, the car feels remarkably like a typical internal combustion engine car. According to Eder, this is intentional - it offers drivers the choice to drive the car how they see fit.

At the same time, the car still delivers the brand's trademark go-kart feel. Light, responsive and with eager acceleration, the car is perfectly suited for city driving.

4. Sensible pricing

Globally, the MINI Electric is priced just below the Cooper S
Globally, the MINI Electric is priced under the Cooper S 3-Door (though this likely won't be the case in Singapore). That makes a ton of sense - the brand wants this model to be as accessible as possible, and as far as performance is concerned, it's just about right.

Rated at 181bhp and with 270Nm of torque available, the MINI Electric has performance comparable to the Cooper S. And being priced similarly, it offers buyers a reasonable alternative when shopping for a compact hatchback.

5. Genuinely exciting

This MINI Electric is a genuinely interesting and exciting car for the future of urban mobility
If we're being honest, it's not often we get genuinely excited about a MINI. Yes, the John Cooper Works models are all well and good, but the core model range is so well-trodden that it's become almost predictable.

With the MINI Electric, there is a MINI to be truly curious and excited about. It is a car keenly poised for an increasingly electrified future, yet it is designed to be as accessible and approachable to the typical car owner as possible.
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