Mini will unveil an all electric three-door hatch at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month, but don’t go looking for any power, performance or range specs because there aren’t any. This car is strictly a concept vehicle, and if there are any actual batteries or electric motors hiding under its skin, no mention has been made of their specifics.
But who cares about the virtual specifications of a car no one will ever drive anyway? What’s important here is what this concept car signals, and that’s the fact that Mini will release an actual electric vehicle in 2019. Again, there is little to no detail about the upcoming model on offer, with Mini only saying the car will be manufactured in large scale production at its Oxford plant in the UK, with drivetrain components pre-assembled at BMW factories in Dingolfing and Landshut, Germany.
So, can we take anything away from the concept car? Not much really, but we’d hazard a guess that the road-going version will feature some unique aerodynamic body parts based on the concept’s add-on fibreglass side skirts and rear fender winglets. Because there’s no radiator needed to cool an engine, it’s also safe to assume designers will do something fun with the front-end - perhaps similar to the concept’s enclosed and body-coloured grille section.
Astute readers may remember a limited run of 600 battery-powered Mini E cars, which were deployed to markets around the world in 2008. These units, which were converted from regular petrol-powered Minis, were built as rolling test beds driven by journalists, BMW’s own researchers and private users who were allowed to lease the cars in the USA as part of the long-term test programme. Some of the lessons learned from the field tests were used in development of BMW’s pure electric i3.
An interesting titbit is that the Mini Electric Concept due to be unveiled in Frankfurt shares its Reflection Silver and Interchange Yellow paint scheme with the 2008 Mini E test mules.