MINI is once again entering the world of electrification. The MINI Countryman E will be the brand’s first plug-in hybrid effectively following up the all electric R56 MINI E from 2011. We’ve reported on the details of the PHEV Countryman E for over a year now, but today we’re bringing you the first photos and schematics of the car outlining some of its finer details.
Lets start with the branding. As you see in the photo above and below MINI will be resurrecting the “E” model designation first used on the MINI E with the new plugin Countryman. While some might scoff at the idea of the Countryman E being compared to the MINI E, in real world usage there will be lots of similarities.
Before we get into that lets also talk about what we’re seeing in these photos. While this isn’t a full view of the new Countryman, there’s still a lot to see. While the overall design is obviously evolutionary, this will feel like a very new car. The very design language has evolved to be more aggressive and taut with sharper creases throughout.
Based on the UKL2 platform, the 2017 Countryman isn’t just a refresh but an entirely new car from the ground up. Because of that MINI has taken the time to go back to the drawing board to define a car that better meets the needs of owners. The F60 Countryman it’s both wider and longer than it’s predecessor the R60. How big is it? We’ve been told it’ll be slightly taller than the current Countryman and slightly longer than the new Clubman.
For many typical driving chores the Countryman E will basically be a electric car. The range on electric power alone as measured in the EU test cycle will be 38 kilometers or about 24 miles. With an approximate 50 mph electric mode speed limiter, the Countryman E will have the ability to run in 100% electric mode for many urban commutes. It’s early but we think this will dominate a lot of MINI owners early reactions to the car. Simply put the Countryman E could feel like an electric car most of the time.
As you can see in the schematic above the Countryman E has half the fuel tank of the Countryman Cooper S. The other half is taken up by the kWh 7.7 lithium ion battery. Under the rear floor is where the 88 HP electric motor sits.
The Countryman E plug-in hybrid fuses BMW eDrive with a model-specific form of power transmission – in this case based on the front-drive Countryman Cooper 3 cylinder. The 1.5-litre BMW TwinPower Turbo engine generates an output of 100 kW/136 hp together with a peak torque of 220 Nm (162 lb-ft), with power relayed to the front wheels via a six-speed Steptronic transmission. The additional high- voltage generator on the front axle fulfils three different tasks: it boosts the combustion engine for brief periods with extra output of up to 15 kW and some 150 Nm (111 lb-ft) from rest, generates electric power while on the move (which is fed directly to the high-voltage battery), and enables the engine to be started and turned off very smoothly thanks to its higher output compared to conventional starters. The electric motor is located above the rear axle, together with its two-speed transmission and the power electronics. It sends output of up to 65 kW/88 hp and maximum torque of 165 Nm (122 lb-ft) through the rear wheels.
If that equation sounds familiar that’s because it’s basically a less potent version of the same drivetrain found in the BMW i8 hybrid Supercar.
As with the BMW i8, the intelligent drivetrain management and networking with the DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) system ensure safe and supremely assured handling characteristics at all times, together with optimized traction, highly dynamic acceleration and cornering, and maximum efficiency.
The Countryman E plug-in hybrid prototype accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in around 6.5 seconds. Its average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle for plug-in hybrid vehicles will be approximately two litres per 100 kilometres, which equates to CO2 emissions of under 50 grams per kilometre. The range on electric power alone as measured in the EU test cycle will be 38 kilometers or about 24 miles. MINI will likely allow for a 50 mph limit to electric power giving the Countryman E the ability to run in 100% electric mode for many urban commutes.
When Sport mode is selected with the Driving Experience Control switch, on the other hand, the combustion engine and electric motor operate in unison and are geared toward a sporty driving style. The high-voltage generator provides a boost effect at low engine revs and generates electricity that is stored directly in the high-voltage battery up to a charge level of around 50 percent.
Unlike the other BMW Plugin Hybrids, the capacity of the main load compartment in the Countryman plug-in hybrid prototype is identical to that of its conventional siblings. And there is still a storage compartment underneath the load compartment floor, as well.
When Can I Buy a Countryman E?
It looks like MINI have accelerated the pace of development of the car to coincide with the general F60 Countryman rollout. This means that we could see the Countryman E debut alongside the Cooper and Cooper this this summer on the web with a public debut happening this September. Sales should begin very early in 2017.