The sound of a MINI’s engine popping and burbling may soon be just a memory. MINI has gone on record in saying that the brand will eventually transition to an electric brand. While the timing and execution has been a bit a moving target, we’re getting a clearer picture of the plans and how they will likely play out.
Here’s what the global head of the MINI brand Peter Schwarzenbauer told Automotive News last year:
Electromobility is an excellent fit for our urban, progressive and open-minded customers. The success of the Mini Countryman plug-in hybrid, which accounted for 13 percent of the model’s global sales last year, demonstrates that. To secure the long-term future of Mini, we will enable the range to be all electric, should the customer prefer that.
For the past 18 months we’ve heard various rumors about “Project Grizzly”, the next generation MINI and how it would either be all electric or have some petrol power as Schwarzenbauer pointed to last year. Based on sources and reading between the lines from our conversations with various people at MINI, it would appear that the brand is getting more aggressive with electrification. That means that the all new fourth generation small MINI will likely be all electric.
We believe much of this is due to cost and forecasted consumer desire. On the cost front it would be incredibly expensive for MINI to develop an all electric MINI with a skateboard chassis and another version with its more traditional unibody design.
Moving to an all electric architecture would allow the next generation MINI to be lighter, more efficient, and likely deliver even more on the brand’s brief of go-kart handling. Rumors point to an initial choice of 35 and 50 kWh battery packs powering the car with several different electric motors in the range. And given how BMW likes consistency, we’d expect Cooper, Cooper S, and even JCW models to be offered.
We’ll have more on the next generation MINI later this week.