Mini is set to launch an electric Hardtop in 2019, and we’ve got the first spy shots of a prototype.
The car was previewed by the Mini Electric concept at 2017’s Frankfurt auto show, and is only the first of 12 electric cars the BMW Group will roll out by 2025.
As expected, Mini is using its signature Hardtop model for its first volume EV. But there isn’t much to distinguish the electric version from its gasoline-powered siblings, at least visually.
2020 Mini Electric spy shots – Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
Some notable differences are the lack of exhaust pipes. The grille also appears mostly sealed, and in some of the shots you can see an accent light running the width of the grille, just like on the Mini Electric concept.
Mini remains quiet on specs, which is smart considering the pace at which the technology is changing. We expect a single electric motor at the front axle and batteries located in the floor and beneath the rear seat. Range should be 200 miles or higher based on EPA testing.
The powertrain will come from the same plants in Germany responsible for the BMW i3’s hardware, though the car will be assembled at Mini’s home in Oxford, England.
Mini was a pioneer of mainstream electric cars. Some readers will recall the brand leased the Hardtop-based Mini E electric car on a trial basis late last decade. This was to gather feedback on the usage of electric cars, which the BMW Group latest used for the i3. But with electric cars increasing in popularity, helped along by the hype surrounding the Tesla Model 3, it’s now Mini’s turn to launch a volume EV.
The good news is that electric powertrains should enhance the go-kart feeling Minis are renowned for. The batteries in the floor further lower the center of the gravity and the low-end torque of an electric motor will ensure a level of responsiveness not possible with a gasoline mill. We can’t wait to take one for a spin.
Following next year’s launch of the electric Hardtop, electric cars we know are coming from the BMW Group will include an iX3 SUV in 2020 and the much-hyped iNext, which is also thought to be an SUV, in 2021. After that there will be nine more launched within the space of four years.