That BMW is gearing up to launch an electric Mini is no secret. The company has been happy to drip-feed details about the electrification of the most British of cars for a number of years, joining an increasing number of compact electric cars.
The first foray into electrification was actually a decade ago, with an electric Mini unveiled at LA Auto Show in 2008, but it has now been confirmed that in the 60th anniversary year of Mini, we'll be getting the fully-electric production version.
Mini electric design
The Mini design is iconic and we're not expecting huge changes from the current Mini Hatch design. It has been confirmed that there will be a 3-door Mini Hatch E and many of the electric concept designs look like a sculpting of the current Mini.
Indeed, there are design elements from the 2018 models, like the Union Flag rear lights, that you'd expect to find on the final version and camouflaged spy shots of the Mini electric sent into Autocar don't show huge changes in terms of overall design.
Naturally, without the need for airflow for cooling, a closed off grille is par for the course for an electric car. For the electric Mini, it looks as though the company is going to be happy to make it clear that it's an electric car with exterior styling - and that was something highlighted on the Mini Countryman S E too.
We'd expect a little sharpening of the lines seen in the Mini Electric Concept seen here and we're not sure that all the fancy skirts will make it into the production model - although there's the suggestion that it will launch as the Mini Cooper S E - essentially a hot hatch in electric form, which might match sportier styling.
There are two different models in the leaked photos and the big difference between the two is the power bulge and scoop on the bonnet - one of the big design differences between the One and Cooper S. Will there be two versions, will Mini keep the scoop for sporty looks, or omit it for a sleeker finish?
Mini is also big on customisation - it's one of the company's big points of differentiation - so we'd expect a full range of Mini Yours Customised options too. We'd expect the interior to be fairly conventional, matching the current Mini models, with similar options - although we'd expect a fairly high level of trim as standard.
Mini Electric launch date
BMW has confirmed that electric Mini will be launching for the 60th anniversary of Mini. With the original launching in 1959, this electric icon will launch in 2019. "In Mini's 60th anniversary year we will also see the new all-electric Mini which will be produced at our Oxford plant," says Graeme Grieve, CEO BMW Group UK, in the 2018 group sales report.
The Mini Electric might get a reveal at the Geneva Motor Show 2019 and we'd expect it to be on the road towards the end of the year. As for the specifics, those are still currently unknown, but with summer 2019 playing host to a number of 60th anniversary events in the UK, it would seem silly not to have an electric Mini to show to fans.
Mini Electric performance range and power
Nothing has been officially mentioned about what will actually power the Mini electric or Mini Cooper S E as it might be badged.
BMW has said that it's working in its fifth-gen electric powertrain, but the first vehicle to benefit from that will be the BMW iX3 in 2021. Instead, it's believed that the Mini will make use of the BMW i3s 135kW motor.
Whether it will use the 42.2kWh battery of the latest i3 is questionable. The range is being cited as "200 miles", but in competitive terms it might make more sense for Mini to step up the capacity. This, of course, will have an impact on price.
Looking at a car like the Nissan Leaf, we see a 40kWh battery in the regular model and 62kWh in the Leaf e+ - with a price difference of £5,700 to reflect that difference. If BMW wants to bring this Mini under £30,000 (the BMW i3 is £35k), then keeping a check on the battery is one way to do this.
We also don't know what the charging rate will be, although it's certain to use the CCS like BMW; we'd expect 11kW charging to be standard for AC and 50kW rapid charging for DC.
But one thing we're certain of is that Mini is going to keep the go-kart handling it's known for. We expect it to be an exhilarating drive and arguably, this is the most important thing. For a small car, range probably isn't as important as the handling and for Mini drivers, you'll want to know that it drives like a Mini.
All will be revealed soon and we'll bring you the details as they become known.