THE original Mini, designed by Sir Alec Issigonis, was born out of the Suez crisis oil shortage and the demand for affordable motoring. The first cars rolled off the line at Oxford in the summer of 1959 and so began a global success story which has spanned six decades.
As the world faces new environmental, social and economic challenges, MINI has unveiled its first fully electric model - the MINI Electric. Production at the Oxford plant will begin in late 2019, with first deliveries in March 2020. Every inch a MINI, with performance close to the hot-hatch MINI Cooper S, it is temptingly priced and demand is expected to be strong. Order books open today at MINI retailers and on the MINI UK website.
The MINI Electric is based on the same body shell as the three-door hatch, with a number of specific differences. An embossed MINI Electric logo appears on car's side scuttles, as well as on the tailgate and front radiator grille.
The front grille features the hallmark hexagonal shape but is closed, as the car requires less cooling. This also contributes to excellent aerodynamics, as do the enclosed undercarriage, the rear apron and the special 17-inch MINI Electric Corona Spoke two-tone wheels, which are optional.
The charging plug is located above the right-hand rear wheel, where the petrol filler would normally be.
The battery pack has 12 modules of lithium-ion cells arranged in a T-shaped unit in the vehicle floor between the front seats and below the rear seats, providing a battery capacity of 32.6 kWh.
In accordance with new EU law, the car is fitted with acoustic pedestrian protection for low speed driving, with a distinctive sound created especially for the car generated via a speaker system.
The new MINI Electric has a new digital dashboard with a 5.5-inch colour screen behind the steering wheel. Road speed is shown at the centre in figures with a peripheral scale band, as well as information on the charge level of the battery, the selected MINI Driving Mode, the status of the driver assistance systems and check control messages.
In addition, details of the available range, current drive power, outside temperature, time and mileage are displayed, with traffic sign detection reports and directions from the navigation system.
If the vehicle is connected to a power socket or charging station, it's possible to read off the time, outside temperature, available range and the charge status from the new dashboard. Charge completion time is also displayed and the colour of the panel changes depending on charge status.
The MINI Electric comes with both home and public charging cables as standard, designed for AC and DC charging using Type 2 and CCS Combo 2 plugs.
Above the car socket, a charge level indicator displays orange for start of charge, pulsating yellow light for active charging and green for a fully charged battery. At a 50kW DC fast-charging station an 80 per cent charge is reached from zero in 35 minutes.