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MINI to present MINI Electric Concept design study at the IAA; all-electric production model in 2019

MINI will present the new MINI Electric Concept design study at the IAA Cars 2017 show in Frankfurt am Main. 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. MINI will present an all-electric series-production model in 2019.

It has been nearly ten years since MINI took a significant, pioneering step with the MINI E (earlier post) 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.

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More than 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 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. (Earlier post.) 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.

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.

—Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG

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.

—Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad

A hexagonal radiator grille and circular headlights make the MINI Electric Concept instantly recognizable when viewed from the front. Identifying features include the vividly contrasting silver and yellow color 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 hood.

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 color—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.

The design of the dark-colored 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. The recessed louvered 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 customization.

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