Auto Express has unearthed a bold new plan by the British car manufacturer to design a new lineup of city cars plus a zero emission flagship which will be propelled by an advance electric powerplant.
Details have not been as abundant as hoped but it is expected that the highly economical model range will also provide gasoline units as BMW will attempt to create a line of green machine targeted at meeting stringent CO2 and other eco-harmful gas emissions requirements set for 2012.
Schedules to be available as early as 2011, it has been confirmed that the highly-secretive machine is being developed together with two new models from a partnership between Fiat and BMW that's expected to be a sign of the revival of the popular BMW Isetta and Topolono brands.
Designed to rival a fast growing family of imminent competition, including VW's Up! And a new lineup of small EVs from Renault, MINI is attempting to return to its origin of lightweight models that aims to be in every aspect as groundbreaking as the original 1959 version.
It is not a coincidence that MINI has chosen its 50th year in the industry to start developing such a groundbreaking car. With a rear-mounted engine, gasoline variants will provide four seats and easy entry into a four-door compartment.
To ensure that safety is a top priority, individual seats for driver and passenger are offered, and the car's wheels at every corner guarantees a stance that provides a sense of security and comfort. Visibility is enhanced via a large glass area that enables the highest possible ease of driving in usually traffic-clogged urban streets.
The carmaker is also contemplating on lightweight, tough plastic bodywork (similar to that of the Mercedes Smart) while the chassis will be a combination of aluminum and composite materials such as carbon fiber to provide massive strength and lowered overall weight. Space inside the electric version will be further enhanced by placing the batteries in a thin sandwich beneath the vehicle and equipping each wheel with an electric motor.
It has been reported that the technology to propel this variant is already well advanced and has already been tested in public via a MINI prototype dubbed the E. This car, which employs a battery and engine configuration like that of the American sports car company Tesla is schedule to produce small numbers of the car in the US and in Germany. Pricing has yet to be revealed but with the advance technology it is anticipated to offer, the flagship model will cost no less than $20,000. The concept that will showcase the production is speculated to be shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show this year.