According to sources inside MINI familiar with future product features, the US market will finally see an auto start/stop system for both manual and automatic transmissions. The first version of auto start/stop made a European debut in 2007 and since then MINI USA has been interested in adding the feature to US bound cars.
The reason for the delay is two fold; there’s been little incentive since the EPA doesn’t recognize such systems in an overall efficiency index and the bigger concern is that the system isn’t free. Again, according to those same sources it adds over $200 per car, thanks to the beefier starter motor, the added electronics and programming. MINI USA couldn’t absorb that cost and didn’t want to pass it on to the consumer. But as BMW has moved to add the technology to almost it’s entire fleet, that price is rapidly decreasing as volume of the system is increasing. Likewise things are changing in the US that make the technology more relevant to the way the EPA measures efficiency- there is an added benefit to automatic transmissions with the current EPA test procedure. This makes a much stronger argument for bringing the system stateside.
Sure we all followed along with the factory electic cars. There was that one company that was also selling electric MINIs through Sam’s Club a while back. Now, CravenSpeed has gotten into the game and they just did their first test drive of their electric R53.
The donor MINI is a 2002 R53. Great testbed for such a conversion. Be sure to click back to read all about their progress.
Anyone have any interest in doing something like this to your MINI? $25k seems pretty reasonable for this kind of conversion to us. What say you?
One of our intrepid readers saw this last week on the Pacific California Highway and thought we should have a look. It would appear that MINI is testing some new Countryman variety in California. But with the R60 freshly dropped on dealer lots, what could MINI already be testing behind a BMW X1? The only apparent clue is the fact it has one small tailpipe.
We’ve have a couple theories but the one that seems by far most plausible is that this is one of the first looks at the forthcoming Countryman hybrid destined for a 2013-2014 introduction. The new hybrid has been hinted at before and our sources have dropped some pretty straightforward references to it. Based on our information it will be a plugin hybrid that will pack lithium ion batteries and the naturally aspirated MINI engine. Power figures are pretty foggy at this time but we’d guess it’ll be between the Cooper and Cooper S with an all electric propulsion below certain speeds.
What? BMW? MotoringFile is a MINI based site right? Yes and yes but today (thanks to our sister site BimmerFile) we bring you a look into the future of the MINI brand by looking at it’s corporate cousin. Earlier this year BMW released details on an entirely new family of four cylinder engines. The first up is the 2.0 N20 that will be most of the line-up within 18 months. It also signals a new where MINI is headed as well. For some time we’ve know that MINI will be moving to a three cylinder engine. What you see above will form the basis of that 1.5L 3 banger. And there may even be a chance that we’ll see a variation of the N20 in future MINI products. So to give you a head start at understanding where MINI will be heading in the years ahead, we’re going to take a deep dive in to the N20 and some of the technology at its heart. continued →
With BMW’s first consumer electric car the MINI E, it wasn’t a BMW powerplant but an AC Propulsion unit that produced power. However it looks like BMW and MINI will be taking electric engine development in house. At last week’s Innovation Days in Munich BMW announced that it will be working on full electric and hybrid drivetrains in house as it allows for better integration within other BMW Group components.
Official Release: Targeted electrification of current BMW and MINI models is today already contributing towards the efficiency advantage achieved in all relevant vehicle segments. The number of electrically powered vehicle components has been consistently increased within the framework of Efficient Dynamics. Examples of this are the electromechanical power steering system, which is still unique in many segments, as well as on-demand electrical actuation of numerous ancillary components. These systems no longer obtain their power supply directly from the combustion engine. Hence fuel consumption is lowered and the energy contained in the fuel utilised to a greater extent to enhance driving dynamics.
No this isn’t the first time we’ve read an official press release on this topic. But now BMW and PSA feel compelled to talk a bit more about their plans. While some of these goals in may sound a bit lofty, the simpler view is that two companies are coming together to share a hybrid powerplant. More specifically we believe the powerplant will be based on the four cylinder Prince engine (we’d guess the Cooper model). BMW and PSA have tasked two of their largest suppliers (Bosch and Getrag) to carry out the engineering and design of the hybrid system. And yes it’s destined for the US market.
We expect the first fruits of this agreement to show up in Countryman and Countryman based models around the 2014 model year.
Official Release: The BMW Group and PSA Peugeot CitroÃ«n have decided to enter into a new phase of their collaboration, by signing an agreement to set up a 50-50 equity joint venture named BMW Peugeot CitroÃ«n Electrification. The agreement was signed on February 1st by Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, and Philippe Varin, Chairman of the Managing Board of PSA Peugeot CitroÃ«n. In October 2010, the two companies had signed a Memorandum of Understanding designed to expand their existing cooperation to hybrid systems. continued →
You likely read last week in our interview with MINI USA Product Manager Vinnie Kung. But we wanted to go over the decision and talk about what the broader picture of MINI’s engine line-up in the US.
First off MINI will clearly be without a diesel in the line-up in the US. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be alternatives. But before we get to that let’s recap what was said in the interview. MINI USA had planned on bringing over the Cooper D for the 2010 model year as early as 2007. The plan was to use the engine without urea injection until 2015 when new EPA rules would go into effect. However the 2008 worldwide economic collapse brought some unfortunately realities to BMW and all non-essential projects were cancelled.
Fast forward to 2009 and MINI USA was once again ready to get started selling diesels. However a new problem emerged when the EPA moved up a key date for cleaner emissions and thus urea injection became a mandatory. MINI USA investigated the idea and talked to everyone with the design and manufacturing process. The answer wasn’t pretty. The cost would be staggering considering the body in white would have to be altered to make room for the urea injection system. Once again the plan was shelved.
As we enter 2011 MINI USA is offering two petrol powered 1.6L engines with solid efficiency and good performance. But we all know that the MPG numbers both achieve will look antiquated in a few years. MINI and BMW knows this and engineers are busy within Germany working on the next generation of MINI powerplants. continued →
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