Mini charges ahead with electric announcement
Previewing their first plug-in hybrid model, Mini are aiming to combine a fun driving experience with zero tailpipe emissions.
The hybrid – shown off by head of Mini brand management, Sebastian Mackensen, and head of Mini series management, Peter Wolf – enables purely electric propulsion for the first time in a Mini and promises to mark the beginning of a new phase for the brand.
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The hybrid Mini makes full use of the electric motor’s entire torque, allowing catapult-like acceleration from standstill. Even after leaving the slower pace of the city, this vehicle maintains its zero-tailpipe emissions at motorway speeds with Auto eDrive allowing speeds of up to 50mph, while speeds of up to 78mph are possible in Max eDrive mode.
Intelligent energy management offers a further opportunity for both power sources to work together effectively. When put into Save Battery mode, the combustion engine powers the car while the high voltage battery retains charge or increases it via a generator.
With the charging socket discreetly integrated in the left side scuttle, you may be forgiven for not noticing it is a hybrid. This level of discreetness extends into the cockpit too, where the differences between a standard Mini and the hybrid are subtle.
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 on the steering column has been replaced with a power display which informs the driver about the electric motor’s power reserves before the combustion engine fires up. When exactly this happens depends upon on the vehicle’s speed and the intensity with which the driver is accelerating.
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.
How will it compare to the Hyundai Ioniq hybrid? Read our review here
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.
Commenting on the launch, Mackensen said: “With this model we want to convince Mini customers of the benefits of hybrid drive and impress everyone who already has hybrid driving experience with Mini’s unique go-kart driving feel.”
For this reason, the first Mini plug-in hybrid model is not solely focused on efficiency, but uncompromising fun from the driving experience, a unique and welcomed approach to low emission driving in our opinion.