(Pocket-lint) - Mini has released details of its new plug-in hybrid car and explained how it would work in real-life situations with its latest press release.

The BMW-owned car company has said development of the new car is nearing completion, so it shouldn't be too long before we start seeing them in showrooms and then on the road.

Head of Mini brand management Sebastian Mackensen and Head of Mini series management Peter Wolf have explained how the combustion engine and electric motor work together thanks to an intelligent energy management system, and how the car retains its familiar driving style.

Mini wanted to make sure that customers step into the car and immediately feel at home and so have kept many of the same features from the regular cars, such as the start/stop button, which now glows yellow instead of red. The rpm counter in the instrument panel has been replaced by a power display, which lets the driver know how much battery power is left for the electric motor and when the combustion engine will fire up. The combustion engine will only start when it feels necessary, and monitors how quick you're going and how hard you're pressing the accelerator pedal.

Because it relies on electric power for the most-part, the new Mini can accelerate instantly while kicking out zero emissions. Mini says the zero emissions are also transferred to the motorway as the battery under the rear seats has enough power for a "long-lasting drive". There's several different modes to select on the new Mini, with Auto eDrive allowing you to drive up to 50mph on electric power or Max eDrive letting you go up to 78mph.

A third, Save Battery mode turns the electric motor off and uses just combustion power. This helps to retain charge in the batteries and even recharge via a generator.

The company hasn't made many changes to the chassis for the electric version and says if anything, it offers better handling thanks to a lower centre of gravity caused by the batteries in the rear of the car.

Electric power is sent to the rear wheels while power from the combustion engine is sent to the front, Mini says this helps with traction as the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) can send power where it's needed to help prevent skidding out of control.

Mini hasn't said when the car is expected to go on sale, but fingers crossed it won't be too long.

Writing by Max Langridge.