MINI plans for electric vehicle range comprised of new Minor, hot hatch, MPV and larger Countryman SUV

MINI Electric Pacesetter Formula E safety car

Major plans are afoot for MINI, which is set to become a fully electric carmaker by 2030 and produce its last internal combustion-engined car by 2025, and there will be new models joining the line-up along the way, according to an Autocar report.

The magazine indicates that the first will be a compact, three-door city car measuring 3.5 m in length, to be joined by a long-range MPV, and the range will be topped by a larger Countryman crossover.

The MPV and Countryman are expected to be at least 4.5 m in length, making these the largest MINI models yet, according to Autocar, adding that the 3-Door and 5-Door hatchbacks, along with the Convertible and Clubman of today will be replaced. The MINI Electric Pacesetter, a one-off electric MINI was created as part of a collaboration between MINI Design, BMW Motorsport, the FIA and Formula E.

2021 MINI Cooper SE facelift

A road-going, less overtly styled of the electric hot hatchback will be set for launch either later this year or early in 2022, BMW insiders told Autocar. This aims to showcase the performance and handling of a MINI halo model in purely electric guise before the all-new, fourth-generation MINI hatchback debuts eight to 12 months after that, according to the magazine.

MINI has also been reported to be bringing back the Minor nameplate for the first model to emerge from the BMW/Great Wall alliance in China, says Autocar, and this is based on an all-new platform that has been jointly developed by the German and Chinese brands in this alliance, dubbed ‘Spotlight’. This joint venture was signed in 2018, and construction of the Jiangsu factory began in June 2020.

The more compact city car model is thought to be possible through the packaging advantages of battery-electric platforms, and the Mini Minor benefits from the flat-floor battery pack as well as a range of new all-in-one electric powertrain developed by BMW. Codenamed ‘Heat’, the power units combine a water-cooled motor, power electronics and a single-speed transmission into a single module around the size of a typical internal combustion engine, says Autocar.

The magazine suggests that the ‘Heat’ electric drivetrain will produce an output of around 135 bhp, with battery capacity expected to be around 35 kWh and thus yield a range of up to 272 km.

The next-generation Clubman could gain some crossover design cues, while the next Countryman could grown into a full-fledged SUV

With the aforementioned replacement of the current 3-Door and 5-Door hatchbacks, the former will not deviate too far from its roots, MINI design chief Oliver Heilmer previously told Autocar, who also recently said that he wants to ‘reduce MINI design as much as possible’. The 5-Door hatchback could, in the future, be distinguished from the 3-Door in the future by becoming larger and possibly taller.

Meanwhile, the Clubman will also grow in size and possibly gain some crossover design cues to distance itself from the 5-Door. This, in turn, is given room by the Countryman that, itself, will become larger still and grow into a proper SUV, says the magazine, and will be based on BMW’s FAAR platform like the X1. The magazine quotes BMW bosses as saying that upsizing is necessary in order to compete seriously in the China market.

“The footprint is most crucial with the hatch. Size is less of a problem with the other models. I want each model to be the smallest in the segment, or visually the smallest, but small may not be helpful for sales,” Heilmer told Autocar.

Last but not least, rounding up the set of future MINI models is an MPV-styled pure EV called the Traveller, which is to be based on the Vision Urbanaut concept with an emphasis on space. This could emerge as a passenger hauler for families and as a commercial vehicle, and is to be based on a ‘skateboard’ chassis, and will feature cloud-based connectivity services, said Autocar. This will only emerge from 2025 at the soonest.

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