MINI Scooter E. The Big Question: Why?

A lot of MINI fans have probably been scratching their heads these past few days as more and more details emerge on the MINI Scooter E Concept bikes. Why the heck would MINI want to build a scooter anyway? The PR has revealed a handful of reasons, and we have our theories, which on balance make a lot of sense for bringing something like this to market. Let’s start at the source, another video from BMW Design Head Adrian Van Hooydonk (above).

Beginning with the obvious, BMW has a deep history with motorcycles. Expanding into scooters is a logical diversification and leveraging the MINI brand to do that makes sense on several levels. Firstly, a scooter is to a motorcycle what a MINI is to a conventional car. They’re trim. They’re light. They’re efficient. They’re surprisingly quick. They’re stylish. They’re approachable. They’re not all things to all people. Secondly, and I think more interestingly, Britain has a rich scooter history rooted most iconically in the Mod movement of the ’60s. Mr. Van Hooydonk mentions this specifically and it’s an obvious thread woven throughout the design language. That intersection of fashion and statement-making transportation dovetails perfectly into what the modern MINI has come to stand for in the automotive world.

On the practical side, simple, fun, zero-emissions, urban transportation could fill a real niche in the years to come. With cities getting ever more crowded, parking at a premium, and fuel prices unlikely to stay stable for long, scooters will likely play a larger and larger role in the future american transportation landscape. It’s a lesson Europe and Asia learned long ago: a scooter is a great way to get around town. What’s more, were MINI to bring these bikes to market, they’d be competing directly with Vespa for premium scooter buyers. The classic Italian marque is really the only player in the premium scooter market space at this time. We think it’s no accident that the Scooter E Concept shares design language with the classic Lambretta scooters — Vespa’s major rival at the height of British Mod and the pinnacle of classic collectibility today.

Lastly, with the right mix of performance and battery life, a real life MINI Scooter E would be a lot of fun. Extending the cheeky character of their cars into a premium two-wheeler would mean a lot fun energy on the showroom floor and streets alike. In the end, isn’t MINI about the joy of motoring? Let’s scoot.