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, and Autocar's drive of a near-final model show the same.
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 it has been confirmed that it will launch as the Mini Cooper SE - essentially a hot hatch in electric form, which might match the 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? We suspect this just comes down to using existing parts in development.
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 Cooper SE launch date
BMW has confirmed that the electric Mini will be launching for the 60th anniversary of the brand. 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.
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. When the official unveiling will land remains a mystery, but Autocar says deliveries will be from March 2020 in the UK.
Mini Cooper SE performance range and power
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, ithe Mini will make use of the BMW i3s 135kW motor. Again, this has been confirmed though prototype drives.
The battery is said to be 92Ah, so slightly lower than the BMW i3s and that might mean that it doesn't quite reach the 160 mile range of the BMW. The range had been rumoured to be around 200 miles, but it looks like the Mini isn't going to be pitched as a range busting model, that it's going to leverage urban convenience instead. In fairness, that's probably not going to be a problem - if the price is right.
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.
Initial driving impressions suggests it does drive just like a Mini should. It's said to have a 0-62mph time of somewhere between 7-8 seconds, but otherwise drive and handle a lot like existing models - but without the soundtrack.
All will be revealed soon and we'll bring you the details as they become known.