2019 will be the year that the iconic Mini enters the electric car industry. Mini owners, BMW revealed back in October 2016 that plans for the Mini EV were well underway. At the end of July 2017, BMW finally revealed, despite concern over Brexit and the economy, the electric Mini would be produced at the BMW Mini factory in Cowley.
As of yet, BMW have been tight-lipped about what we can expect from the Mini electric car. There are no concept plans or drawings and the German manufacturer has been coy in keeping the lid of the news for so long whilst competitors such as Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Volkswagen all launch their own electric vehicles.
What we can speculate about however is that the first electric Mini is likely to follow suit of the existing BMW electric cars on the market at the moment. Like the BMW i8, many expect that the composition of the car will be largely aluminium and carbon-fibre in order to bring down weight so that the range of the electric battery can be extended as much as possible.
Likewise, most electric cars are being built with the battery stored at the bottom of the chassis, so this will involve a near complete redesign of the current Mini’s mechanics.
We also know that the model will be likely a three-door hatchback to remain in keeping with the iconic Mini styling as much as possible.
So who will the electric Mini be competing against?
The market place already has a few compact electric cars out there, so the Mini will be somewhat a bit late to the game. Competitor models include:
Toyota Prius – the original founding father of the electric car world, the Prius is the world’s most bought hybrid car. With that accolade comes a strong reputation of reliability, safety and value for money.
Volkswagen Golf GTE – one of VWs latest on the market, the Golf GTE is a hybrid but does allow drivers 31 miles on electric only. Likely to be popular amongst those looking for the iconic racing feel of the Golf GTI but also concerned about fuel costs. The hot hatch is certainly proving popular.
Tesla Model 3 – only launching in July, the Tesla Model 3 already has a waiting list nearly spanning over 2 years long. The draw of Autopilot driving also helps the American car/technology company always see plenty of fanfare and orders. At just under £25,000, the Model 3 is also affordable and cost efficient but plush with luxury and gadgets.
Is the timing right?
At the moment there are plenty of electric cars on the road, but excusing the likes of the Tesla S, the vast majority tend to be hatchbacks/compacts. The Mini will be just another hatchback arrival when it comes onto our roads at the end of the decade, but will it be in danger of being too late?
SUV models continue to soar on UK roads, so it’s no surprise that at about the same time the electric Mini comes out, we will see the launch of larger SUV/Crossover cars making way. The Volkswagen ID is due to launch in 2020 and the Ford electric CUV is expected to target the upcoming Tesla Y. Could the Mini be in danger of being a bit “old hat” by then?
What do we think about the electric Mini?
At the moment, there isn’t enough detail about the electric Mini. Questions about battery life, acceleration, features and efficiency are all still kept under wraps. However, looking at the success and high quality build of the BMW i3 and i8, we can expect that BMW will build something that Mini fans can be proud of. We can expect that the technology will be reliable, robust and still deliver great performance. Until more details are revealed, we can only wait in anticipation.