MINI Electric Concept introduced ahead of 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show

Article by Christian A., on August 30, 2017

Finally, Mini is going electric, at least through a design study. Mini will be introducing the new MINI Electric Concept at the upcoming 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Dominating the city landscape is nothing new for Mini. After all, the carmaker has been known for its own concept of urban mobility that’s injected with the customary go-kart feeling. However, the Mini Electric Concept brings these attributes to a whole new level.

The concept treats urban mobility as a good platform from which it could launch its electric capabilities, as electrified vehicles are often suitable for short travels within the city because of their shorter range.

According to Mini, the Mini Electric Concept will be a study of an upcoming all-electric series-production model, which will be unveiled by the carmaker in 2019.

It is a seamless continuation of the electric mobility solutions that started with the Mini E in 2008, and lately with Mini Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 – the brand’s first series-production model with a plug-in hybrid drive system unveiled in spring 2017. Mini is also planning to group all its electrified products under the “Mini Electric” banner in the future.

Exterior Design

Even at a glimpse, it is very easy to tell that the design concept is a true Mini – from its iconic design and its proportions to its exterior details and its compact nature. Among these identifying elements are the characteristic E badge and the silver-and-yellow color scheme paying tribute to the Mini E. The concept is primarily wrapped in Reflection Silver matt liquid metal finish with a number of yellow accents all throughout. The roof features a color scheme in which matt white fades to high-gloss yellow. The yellow of the side skirts becomes more transparent, seemingly merging with the body color as it rises.

Other identifying elements include the traditional hexagonal radiator grille and circular headlights, both of which have been reinterpreted to reflect the concept’s emission-free drive technology. Interestingly, the grille features no intakes since the electric drive unit doesn’t need much cooling air – resulting to improved levels of aerodynamics. The grille features a Striking Yellow accent bar as well as an E badge finished in the same color. Likewise, the daytime running lights in the all-LED headlight assemblies are arranged to resemble the E badge. Meanwhile, the front apron features sealed simulated “air intakes” with dark louvers looking like cooling fins.

The flanks of the Mini Electric Concept underline its compact and agile nature, as exemplified by the molded fibreglass add-on parts along the lower edge. A large yet discreet “E” badge can be found on the front wheel. “MINI E” badges can be found in the radiator grille and exterior mirror caps.

Meanwhile, the rear end of the Mini Electric Concept is marked by rear light assemblies that pay tribute to the car’s British roots. Each of the rear lights forms one half of the Union Jack as an LED dot matrix. The rear apron features also feature air deflectors and a fiber-glass diffuser. A yellow accent strip is also found on the rear end, while exhaust pipes are remarkably absent.

On the other hand, the Mini Electric Concept rides on dark-colored 19-inch wheels with an asymmetrical form. The aerodynamic inlays on the wheels are made employing a 3D printing process, just like the recessed louvered surfaces in the simulated air intakes.

Press Release

MINI presents pure-electric design study at the IAA: the MINI Electric Concept, complete with iconic design and urban driving fun.

MINI is using the IAA Cars 2017 show in Frankfurt am Main to showcase its take on future personal mobility in the city – in the form of the MINI Electric Concept. Designed for use in urban areas, this concept car offers a window into how pure-electric day-to-day mobility might look in the years ahead. And the MINI Electric Concept also brings the iconic design, city-dwelling heritage and customary go-kart feeling of the MINI brand into the electric mobility age. MINI will present an all-electric series-production model in 2019.

“The systematic electrification of the brand and product portfolio is a mainstay of the BMW Group’s NUMBER ONE > NEXT strategy. The MINI Electric Concept offers a thrilling preview of the all-electric production vehicle. MINI and electrification make a perfect match,” remarks Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG.

Urban mobility is ingrained into the MINI brand’s DNA; the city is its natural habitat. Indeed, this environment and the specific demands it places on a car provided the canvas from which the MINI design team brought the MINI Electric Concept to life. The responsive drive system, sublimely judged suspension tuning and use of aerodynamic add-ons produce driving dynamics very much in the MINI mould and a fine operating range. It all comes together to make the MINI Electric Concept a highly attractive, zero-emission solution to the current challenges facing personal mobility in our cities and their surroundings.

“With its characteristic go-kart feeling and powerful electric motor, the MINI Electric Concept is great fun to drive while also being completely suitable for everyday use – and producing zero emissions to boot. That’s how we at MINI envisage electric mobility in tomorrow’s world,” says Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad.

MINI – blazing a trail for electric mobility at the BMW Group.

It has been nearly ten years since MINI took a significant, pioneering step with the MINI E – and laid the foundations at the BMW Group for the development of electric mobility solutions to production readiness. The MINI E unveiled in 2008 was the first all-electric car from the BMW Group to be driven by private users in everyday traffic conditions – as part of an extensive field trial. Over 600 MINI E cars entered service worldwide for the purpose of the field studies. All of them helped to gain vital insights into the use of pure-electric vehicles, and this knowledge was subsequently incorporated into the development of the BMW i3. The MINI E also offered driving fun in spades, thanks to outstanding acceleration and handling.

The British premium brand’s first series-production model with a plug-in hybrid drive system was presented in spring 2017 in the shape of the MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4. The new model variant enables electric and therefore locally emission-free mobility for the first time. The all-electric MINI Electric Concept represents a seamless continuation of this bloodline. In the future, all electrified products from the MINI brand will be grouped together under the “MINI Electric” banner.

Unmistakably MINI – the design.

“The MINI Electric Concept is a quintessential MINI – compact, agile, simply the ideal companion for everyday driving. At the same time, it conveys a whole new take on the concept of sportiness,” explains Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. “Indeed, aerodynamics and lightweight design aren’t just important in the world of motor sport; they are also essential factors for maximising electric range. The car’s surfaces have a sense of precision and contemporary clarity about them that lends added impact to the car’s efficient character. Plus, striking accents and vivid contrasts give the exterior that distinctive MINI twist.”

A front end brimming with character.

A hexagonal radiator grille and circular headlights make the MINI Electric Concept instantly recognisable when viewed from the front. Even from the outside, it is obvious that this car has an electric heart. Identifying features include the vividly contrasting silver and yellow colour scheme reminiscent of the earlier MINI E, as well as the distinctive E badge. Besides this, the radiator grille and headlights have been reinterpreted to reflect the emission-free drive technology under the bonnet. As the electric drive unit requires very little cooling air, the radiator grille is closed for superior aerodynamics. A Striking Yellow accent bar in the grille – with an E badge in the same colour – produces a powerful contrasting effect, which is echoed by the styling of the daytime running lights in the all-LED headlight assemblies.

The highly expressive add-on parts in the front apron highlight the dynamic character of the MINI Electric Concept, at the same time as increasing its range with their aerodynamic benefits. The front apron’s simulated “air intakes” are also sealed, yet they still include dark louvres that look like cooling fins and inject some added technical flair. The crisp lines of elements such as the LED headlights and fibreglass structures contrast with the expanse of clear surfaces, and lend the front as a whole a very sophisticated look.

Compact and agile – the flanks.

The contrasting blend of colours, smooth surfaces and precisely contoured details continues into the MINI Electric Concept’s flanks. Clearly moulded fibreglass add-on parts along the lower edge serve to intensify the car’s snappy proportions. The car’s silhouette is composed of taut, clean-cut surfaces, producing a minimalist impression that exudes efficiency. The elements below the surfaces help to convey a feeling of restrained power and understated athleticism. The paint finish in Reflection Silver – a matt liquid metal colour shade – showcases the surfacing to exceptional effect and thereby focuses the spotlight on the model’s lightweight and sophisticated character.

Expressive accents.

Material and colour highlights take a light-hearted approach to softening the technical appearance of the car’s flanks, as well other areas of the car. A large yet discreet “E” badge above the front wheel provides another tell-tale sign of the power source. The interplay between matt and high-gloss surfaces within a family of colours results in a progressive look with a puristic and classy feel. Further “MINI E” badges are integrated into the radiator grille and exterior mirror caps. Colour gradients in the accent shade Striking Yellow, incorporated into both the roof and side skirts, add further flourishes. The colour of the roof flows from matt white to high-gloss yellow, while the yellow of the side skirts gains in transparency as it rises, appearing to merge into the body colour. These colour gradients accentuate the concept car’s lightness and modernity.

Innovative 3D printing.

The design of the dark-coloured 19-inch wheels adds another visual highlight, picking up on the idea of the radiator grille’s accent bar and reinterpreting it in asymmetrical form. The aerodynamic inlays – made using a 3D printing process – echo the fibreglass structure of the air deflectors and inject the wheels with great aesthetic appeal. The recessed louvred surfaces in the simulated air intakes were also produced using a 3D printing method. These two elements emphasise the light and modern character of the MINI Electric Concept, while at the same time illustrating the opportunities offered by 3D printing in terms of producing functional design elements for vehicle styling and customisation.

Clarity and dynamism – the rear end.

The rear of the concept car also marks it out as a thoroughbred MINI. Its wide stance on the road is striking in a sporty way, without lapsing into excessive flamboyance. The upper section is dominated by clear surfaces, but the rear takes on a far more dynamic aspect as it cascades down. This familiar approach from MINI, where the car’s volume steadily increases from the top down, makes the shoulders appear broad and athletic. The rear light assemblies constitute yet another standout visual feature and provide a clear pointer to the car’s British roots. Framed within the classic MINI outline, they each form one half of the Union Jack as an LED dot matrix. The rear apron features aerodynamic elements similar to those at the front, including air deflectors and a fibreglass diffuser. These reinforce the car’s efficient dynamism on both a visual and functional level. There is also a yellow accent strip that provides a striking colour contrast when the car is viewed from the rear, while simultaneously announcing the presence of an electric drive system. This is further underlined by the absence of exhaust pipes and the dark louvred surfaces in the simulated air outlets.

Cutting-edge, pure and dynamic (in an efficient way), the MINI Electric Concept encapsulates MINI’s near-term vision of an all-electric car designed for urban mobility in a changing world.

Source: MINI

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